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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » ESQRU » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #326960

Title: Influence of aviary forage substrate on environmental and egg microbial indicator organisms and pathogen prevalence.

item Jones, Deana
item KARCHER, D - Michigan State University

Submitted to: Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/23/2016
Publication Date: 7/11/2016
Citation: Jones, D.R., Karcher, D.M. 2016. Influence of aviary forage substrate on environmental and egg microbial indicator organisms and pathogen prevalence. Poultry Science Association Meeting Abstract. 95:(24)

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: A rapid shift to cage-free egg production systems in the US is occurring. The impact of management decisions on food safety in cage-free production is not completely understood. Bovans White laying hens was housed in commercial-style aviary housing systems. Each aviary was divided into 4 segments, with each segment containing a different forage substrate: concrete, Astroturf, wood shavings, and straw. Four rooms of aviary housing were utilized with each substrate present within a room. At four hen ages (25, 37, 51, and 64 wks) eggshell pools (4 eggs/pool; 6 pools/substrate) and environmental swabs were collected for microbial analysis. Environmental sampling consisted of swabbing: nest boxes, system wires, and forage drag swabs (n = 4/substrate/sampling time). Hens produced so few system and floor eggs that adequate numbers of eggshell pools could not be formed. Indicator populations of total aerobes, Enterobacteriaceae, and yeasts and molds were enumerated. The prevalence of Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter spp. were also determined. Levels of nest box shell emulsion total aerobes (P < 0.05) were impacted by forage substrate, yet overall counts amongst treatments were within 1 log cfu/mL. Levels of all indicator organisms in environmental swabs were influenced by hen age (P < 0.05) and not forage substrate. The greatest amount of nest box and system wire contamination was found at 37 wk for all three populations enumerated, with similar counts for both environmental samples (approximately 6 log cfu/mL total aerobes; 4.5 log cfu/mL Enterobacteriaceae; 4 log cfu/mL yeasts and molds). No Salmonella spp. were detected in any of the samples. While Listeria (8% nest box swabs; 34% system swabs; 70% drag swabs) and Campylobacter spp. (6% nest box shells; 2% nest box swabs; 39% system swabs; 25% drag swabs) were detected, no differences were found between the substrates for pathogen prevalence (P > 0.05). In commercial aviary housing, hen age has a greater influence on levels of indicator organisms than forage substrate. Furthermore, forage substrate does not significantly influence the prevalence of Salmonella, Listeria, or Campylobacter spp.