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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Jenkins, Mark
item Miska, Kate
item Klopp, S

Submitted to: Avian Diseases
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/13/2005
Publication Date: 3/1/2006
Citation: Jenkins, M.C., Miska, K.B., Klopp, S. 2006. Application of polymerase chain reaction based on its1 rdna to speciate eimeria. Avian Diseases. 50:110-114.

Interpretive Summary: Avian coccidiosis remains a significant disease problem for the U.S. and worldwide poultry industries. The use of live oocyst vaccines to prevent coccidiosis is gaining greater acceptance by the poultry industry, especially with increasing drug resistance in Eimeria and greater consumer pressure to discontinue use of drugs in animal feed. Effective application of live oocyst vaccines requires some knowledge of the species compostion of Eimeria in a poultry facility so that vaccines containing these species are used for immunization. The present study provides a rapid technique for directly assessing the species composition of Eimeria in poultry litter. This technique is based on the use of polymerase chain reaction to amplify species specific regions of DNA. The technique should help poultry producers and vaccine manufacturers prevent outbreaks of avian coccidiosis.

Technical Abstract: A method was developed to recover Eimeria spp. oocysts directly from poultry litter and determine the species composition of Eimeria present using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) based on the ITS1 rDNA sequence. The species composition of Eimeria oocysts was also compared before and after propagation in susceptible chickens to determine if the relative proportion of each species changed after expansion. In samples from two broiler operations, ITS1-PCR was able to detect Eimeria spp. oocysts recovered from litter samples, with E. acervulina, E. maxima, and E. praecox being the predominant species present therein. Although E. tenella was found in one sample, the other species- E. brunetti, E. necatrix, and E. mitis were not detected. The species composition as determined by ITS1-PCR did not appear to appreciably alter after expansion in susceptible chickens. The described method represents a rapid means for determining the major Eimeria species in a poultry operation, and may be helpful in choosing a particular live oocyst vaccine formulation to protect chickens against coccidiosis.

Last Modified: 10/20/2017
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