Skip to main content
ARS Home » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #375577

Research Project: Characterizing Antimicrobial Resistance in Poultry Production Environments

Location: Location not imported yet.

Title: Bacterial Detection and Recovery from Poultry Litter.

item Plumblee Lawrence, Jodie
item Cudnik, Denice
item Oladeinde, Adelumola - Ade

Submitted to: Frontiers in Microbiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/13/2021
Publication Date: 1/6/2022
Citation: Plumblee Lawrence, J.R., Cudnik, D., Oladeinde, A.A. 2022. Bacterial detection and recovery from Poultry Litter. Frontiers in Microbiology. 12:803150.

Interpretive Summary: The United States is the leading producer of broiler chickens in the world. Raising billions of chickens every year generates tonnes of litter that is either reused for raising multiple flocks of chickens or employed for use as soil amendments, animal feed additives and energy production. For these purposes, it is recommended that litter should be pathogen-free, however, the designation of litter status is ultimately dependent on the accuracy of the method used including the limit of detection and quantification of the method. In this study, an easy and affordable method was modified for quantification of poultry associated pathogens in reused litter. The recovery efficiency of the method was comparable for Salmonella, Escherichia coli and Enterococcus, but was considerably lower for Campylobacter. The limit of detection and quantification differed between pathogens but was lowest for Enterococcus and Salmonella, respectively. This will be the first study to our knowledge providing a detailed method for pathogen recovery from litter with measures that can be used for validating its accuracy.

Technical Abstract: The pathogen status of poultry litter used for raising broiler chickens is critical to the overall health outcome of a broiler chicken flock. Therefore, it is imperative that methods used for determining bacterial concentration in litter is accurate and reproducible across studies. In this technical note, we determined the accuracy of a modified method for pathogen (Campylobacter, Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli) and Enterococcus sp.) recovery from litter and also discuss the shortcomings associated with previously described methods. The limit of quantification and detection for this method differed between pathogens and the recovery rate (~33%) was higher for Salmonella, E. coli and Enterococcus compared to Campylobacter (6%). Our results suggest that pathogen recovery from litter is highly variable and pathogen concentrations should be reported in dry weight before comparisons can be made between studies.