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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #389742

Research Project: Reduction of Foodborne Pathogens and Antimicrobial Resistance in Poultry Production Environments

Location: Egg and Poultry Production Safety Research Unit

Title: Campylobacter prevalence differs across and within broiler houses with re-used poultry litter

item WOYDA, REED - Colorado State University
item Oladeinde, Adelumola - Ade
item ENDALE, DINKU - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item STRICKLAND, TIMOTHY - US Department Of Agriculture (USDA)
item AWOSILE, BABAFELA - Texas Tech University
item ABDO, ZAID - Colorado State University

Submitted to: International Poultry Scientific Forum
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/10/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Multiple hurdle interventions are recommended during the processing of broiler carcasses to reduce bacterial loads, but pathogens like Campylobacter remain a major foodborne disease linked to poultry consumption. Consequently, the poultry industry and regulatory agencies are looking for pre-harvest strategies that can reduce Campylobacter in broiler grow-out houses. To achieve this aim, it is critical we understand the ecology of Campylobacter in pre-harvest. In this study, a longitudinal sampling of the litter in four commercial broiler houses was conducted over three consecutive flocks to evaluate Campylobacter prevalence in litter. Prior to the start of the study, a complete house clean-out was done, and fresh peanut hull was used as the bedding for the first flock. The second and third flock were raised in succession on the same litter without any litter clean-out between each grow-out cycle. Litter was sampled at the beginning of each grow-out cycle and at the end of the cycle. Each house was divided into four sections: front, mid-front, mid-back, and back. For each of these sections, three grab samples of litter were collected and pooled. Seventy-two pooled litter samples were taken from each house, totaling 288 litter samples across all houses. Campylobacter was detected from litter samples by direct plating and enrichment. Statistical analysis was used to explore the relationship between Campylobacter prevalence and relevant physio-chemical parameters. Campylobacter was found to be most prevalent during the first flock and in houses 3 and 4. Across all houses the front section was most likely to harbor Campylobacter. Early grow-out period had significantly less Campylobacter than the late grow-out period. Furthermore, the odds of finding Campylobacter increased when the house temperature was below or equal to 79ºF than at temperatures higher or equal to 80ºF. We also observed that higher litter moisture content (>25%) resulted in higher Campylobacter prevalence. Lastly, genetic analysis of isolates via whole genome sequencing revealed that C. jejuni was the dominant species in the litter (39/44); C. coli (5/44). This study suggest that interventions to decrease litter moisture and grow-out house temperature control may reduce Campylobacter prevalence.