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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #227217

Title: Campylobacter Colonization of the Turkey Intestine in the Context of Microbial Community Development

item Scupham, Alexandra

Submitted to: Applied and Environmental Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/29/2009
Publication Date: 6/20/2009
Citation: Scupham, A.J. 2009. Campylobacter Colonization of the Turkey Intestine in the Context of Microbial Community Development. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 75(11):3564-3571.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter is the primary bacterial food borne pathogen, causing over two million cases annually in the USA. Consumption of poultry is a significant risk factor for enteritis, thus there is a need for development of preharvest intervention strategies to reduce Campylobacter load in the poultry intestine. Understanding the ecology of the pathogen includes an understanding of intestinal microbiota. In this work, Campylobacter populations in the intestines of commercially raised turkeys are seen to respond to transitions in the bacterial community. These results demonstrate the role of commensal bacteria in exclusion of pathogens, and provide a starting point for the development of antibiotic-free competitive exclusion products to increase the safety of the food supply.

Technical Abstract: Relationships between development of the turkey intestinal microbiota and colonization by the food borne pathogen Campylobacter were examined. Every week of the 18 week production cycle, cecal bacterial communities and Campylobacter isolates were examined from five birds for each of two flocks. Molecular fingerprinting of the cecal samples revealed that communities develop via succession through four stages. A basal community consisting of eleven Bacteroidetes types was present throughout both trials. In contrast, succession was detected in the Firmicutes populations until weeks ten or eleven with few shared sequences between the flocks. Campylobacter isolates were determined to consist primarily of the species C. coli, although C. jejuni and unidentified Campylobacters were detected at the transition points between bacterial community developmental stages. Changes in the C. coli subpopulations also correlated to intestinal community perturbation.