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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Food and Feed Safety Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #208218

Title: Influence of light exposure on horizontal transmission of Salmonella typhimurium in weaned pigs

item Edrington, Thomas
item Callaway, Todd
item Genovese, Kenneth - Ken
item Anderson, Robin
item Nisbet, David

Submitted to: Safepork
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2007
Publication Date: 5/10/2007
Citation: Edrington, T.S., Callaway, T.R., Genovese, K.J., Anderson, R.C., Nisbet, D.J. 2007. Influence of light exposure on horizontal transmission of Salmonella typhimurium in weaned pigs. Safepork. 441.

Interpretive Summary: Salmonella is a bacteria that can be found in pigs that can make pigs sick and people who eat pork that is contaminated with Salmonella can get sick. Previous research conducted by our laboratory demonstrated that the hormone melatonin can reduce some types of harmful bacteria. The purpose of this study was to determine if different levels of light exposure can change melatonin levels in pigs making pigs more or less likely to acquire Salmonella from infected pigs. Results showed that pigs exposed to longer periods of light were more likely to test positive for Salmonella than pigs receiving half that amount of light exposure. This is important information to the U.S. pork producers because controlling light exposure is a simple, cost effective method that may improve pig health and food safety.

Technical Abstract: The objective of the following experiment was to examine the effect of light exposure on horizontal transmission of Salmonella typhimurium in weaned pigs. Twenty crossbred pigs (average BW = 15 kg) were housed in isolation rooms (10 pigs/room) and randomly assigned to one of two lighting regimes: Low (8 h light, 16 h dark) or High (16 h light, 8 h dark). Pigs were adjusted to their respective lighting treatments for six days and on the seventh day, two randomly selected pigs/room orally inoculated with 5 ml of tryptic soy broth containing 18 x 108 cfu Salmonella typhimurium/ml. Rectal swabs were collected from each pig daily over the next eight days for direct plating and plating following 24-h enrichment. On day nine, following inoculation of the seeder pigs, all pigs were euthanized and necropsied. Luminal contents were collected from the ileum, colon, cecum and rectum (quantification and qualification of inoculated strain) and tissue samples collected from the above gut segments as well as the tonsils, ileo-cecal lymph nodes, spleen and liver (qualification only). The number of rectal swabs positive for the inoculation strain of Salmonella was higher (P = 0.003) in the High lighting treatment (25 versus 5.4% positive) compared to the Low treatment when examined across sampling days. No differences (P > 0.10) were observed in the percentage of fecal swabs positive for Salmonella following enrichment. Serial dilutions of luminal contents were not statistically different with very few samples containing quantifiable amounts of Salmonella. However, following enrichment, the percentage of positive luminal content samples was higher (P < 0.05) in the colon and rectum and tended to be higher (P = 0.07) in the cecum, in pigs exposed to 16 h of light. The percentage of tissue samples from the ileum and colon that were Salmonella positive was also higher (P < 0.05) in the High lighting treatment compared to those receiving 8 hours light. No other differences were observed in tissue or luminal contents. Body weights were similar among treatments prior to initiation of lighting treatments and weight gains were not different (P > 0.10) among treatments. Results of this research indicate that lighting exposure may play a role in the horizontal transmission of Salmonella typhimurium among weaned pigs.