Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #336977

Research Project: Production and Processing Intervention Strategies for Poultry Associated Foodborne Pathogens

Location: Poultry Microbiological Safety and Processing Research Unit

Title: Detecting Campylobacter coli in young chicks using two different cloacal swab techniques

item MCLENDON, BEVERLY - University Of Georgia
item Cox Jr, Nelson
item Cosby, Douglas
item MONTIEL, ENRIQUE - University Of Georgia
item RUSSELL, SCOTT - University Of Georgia
item HOFACRE, CHARLES - University Of Georgia
item LANDRUM, MELISSA - University Of Georgia
item JACKSON, JEROMEY - University Of Georgia
item WILSON, JEANNA - University Of Georgia

Submitted to: Journal of Applied Poultry Research
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/15/2017
Publication Date: 2/27/2018
Citation: Mclendon, B.L., Cox Jr, N.A., Cosby, D.E., Montiel, E.R., Russell, S.M., Hofacre, C.L., Landrum, M.A., Jackson, J.S., Wilson, J.L. 2018. Detecting Campylobacter coli in young chicks using two different cloacal swab techniques. Journal of Applied Poultry Research. 27(2):223-227.

Interpretive Summary: Breeder chicks (broiler and layers) are expensive and valuable to the poultry industry. As such, industry needs a reliable, non-destructive method to screen these birds for the presence of Campylobacter both for internal use and to sell them to poultry companies in the U.S. and around the world. This study demonstrates that either a shallow or a deep cloacal swab is an effective method to detect Campylobacter without killing the chicks. Freezing these swabs for analysis at a later time did not diminish the effectiveness of this method and therefore making it even more useful to the poultry industry.

Technical Abstract: Day old chicks (n=25) were orally gavaged with either a low inoculum 101-3 or high 106 Campylobacter coli (Cc) gentamicin resistant marker strain. Chicks were placed in separate isolation units, and 7 to 21d post challenge 10 birds per group were subjected to a shallow (9mm) and a deep (24mm) cloacal swab. Each swab was placed into 5 mL of Tecra® broth without added supplements, vortexed, streaked for isolation onto Campy Cefex agar plus 200 ppm gentamicin, then supplements were added to each tube prior to enrichment for detection of Cc from negative swabs. After swabbing, birds were sacrificed and one cecum was quantitatively analyzed for Cc from the control group; both ceca were removed from all challenged birds and analyzed for Cc as appropriate. After 14d, 95% of the shallow and 90% of the deep swabs were positive for Cc. Even with a relatively low inoculum (<103) Cc achieved a high degree of cecal colonization and the cloacal swab (either shallow or deep) proved to be a reliable indicator for Cc. Birds challenged with >102, after 7 and 14 d were colonized with >106 cells. After 7d, all shallow and deep swabs were positive for Cc regardless of challenge dose. Since it might not be practical in an industry setting to process the swabs the day of collection, we looked at the reliability of cloacal swabs after freezing for up to 21 d. When the level in the ceca was high, recovery of Cc was excellent but when the level was low (< 102 inoculum level), recovery was very unreliable. If the levels of Campylobacter are relatively high in the ceca, both the shallow and deep swabs, unfrozen or frozen, are reliable nondestructive methods to detect this microorganism.