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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Egg Safety & Quality Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #327719

Research Project: Reduction of Invasive Salmonella enterica in Poultry through Genomics, Phenomics and Field Investigations of Small Multi-Species Farm Environments

Location: Egg Safety & Quality Research

Title: Assessing the Microbiomes of Scalder and Chiller Tank Waters Throughout a Typical Commercial Poultry Processing Day

Author
item Rothrock, Michael
item Locatelli, Aude - Department Of Energy
item Glenn, Travis - University Of Georgia
item Thomas, Jesse - University Of Georgia
item Caudill, Andrew - University Of Georgia
item Kiepper, Brian - University Of Georgia
item Hiett, Kelli

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/16/2016
Publication Date: 7/1/2016
Citation: Rothrock Jr, M.J., Locatelli, A., Glenn, T.C., Thomas, J.C., Caudill, A.C., Kiepper, B.H., Hiett, K.L. 2016. Assessing the Microbiomes of Scalder and Chiller Tank Waters Throughout a Typical Commercial Poultry Processing Day. Poultry Science. 00:1–11; http://dx.doi.org/10.3382/ps/pew234.

Interpretive Summary: The commercial poultry processing environment plays a significant role in reducing foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms from poultry products prior to being supplied to consumers. While understanding the microbiological quality of these products is essential, little is known about the microbiota of processing water tanks within the processing plant. Therefore, the goal of this study was to assess the microbiomes of the scalder and chiller tanks during a typical commercial processing day, and determine how bacterial populations, including foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms, change during the processing day in relation to the bacterial communities as a whole. Additionally, considering this is the first microbiomic analysis of processing tank waters, two water sampling methods were also compared. Results of this study show that Proteobacteria and Firmicutes represented over half of the sequences recovered from both tanks at the phylum-level, but the microbiomic profiles needed to be analyzed at the genus-level to observe more dynamic population shifts. Bacteria known to predominate in the live production environment were found to increase in the scalder tank and gram negative spoilage-related bacteria were found to decrease in the chiller tank throughout the processing day. Directly sampling the scalder water, as compared to analyzing filtered samples, resulted in significantly different microbiomic profiles dominated by Anoxybacillus spp. While no sequences related to major foodborne pathogens were found, further sampling collection and processing optimization should provide researchers and the poultry industry a new tool to understand the ecological role of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria within processing tank waters.

Technical Abstract: The commercial poultry processing environment plays a significant role in reducing foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms from poultry products prior to being supplied to consumers. While understanding the microbiological quality of these products is essential, little is known about the microbiota of processing water tanks within the processing plant. Therefore, the goal of this study was to assess the microbiomes of the scalder and chiller tanks during a typical commercial processing day, and determine how bacterial populations, including foodborne pathogens and spoilage organisms, change during the processing day in relation to the bacterial communities as a whole. Additionally, considering this is the first microbiomic analysis of processing tank waters, two water sampling methods were also compared. Results of this study show that Proteobacteria and Firmicutes represented over half of the sequences recovered from both tanks at the phylum-level, but the microbiomic profiles needed to be analyzed at the genus-level to observe more dynamic population shifts. Bacteria known to predominate in the live production environment were found to increase in the scalder tank and gram negative spoilage-related bacteria were found to decrease in the chiller tank throughout the processing day. Directly sampling the scalder water, as compared to analyzing filtered samples, resulted in significantly different microbiomic profiles dominated by Anoxybacillus spp. While no sequences related to major foodborne pathogens were found, further sampling collection and processing optimization should provide researchers and the poultry industry a new tool to understand the ecological role of spoilage and pathogenic bacteria within processing tank waters.