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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Animal Disease Center » Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #406539

Research Project: Analysis of Genetic Factors that Increase Foodborne Pathogen Fitness, Virulence, and Antimicrobial Resistance Transfer, to Identify Interventions against Salmonella and Campylobacter in Food Animals

Location: Food Safety and Enteric Pathogens Research

Title: Deciphering the association between Campylobacter colonization and microbiota composition in the intestine of commercial broilers

item JINJI, PANG - Iowa State University
item Looft, Torey
item QIJING, ZHANG - Iowa State University
item SAHIN, ORHAN - Iowa State University

Submitted to: Microorganisms
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/29/2023
Publication Date: 6/30/2023
Citation: Jinji, P., Looft, T.P., Qijing, Z., Sahin, O. 2023. Deciphering the association between Campylobacter colonization and microbiota composition in the intestine of commercial broilers. Microorganisms. 11(7)1724.

Interpretive Summary: Campylobacter is the leading cause of bacterial foodborne Illness in the US, with consumption of contaminated poultry being the main source. Controlling Campylobacter on farms is important because reducing Campylobacter in poultry reduces contamination of meat and the potential for infections in humans. In the study reported here, we compared the intestinal microbiota of chickens from Campylobacter-positive and Campylobacter-negative farms to identify if the Campylobacter status of birds influences their microbiota. Key differences were detected in the microbiota of Campylobacter-positive flocks, including the increase of specific bacteria when Campylobacter was present and bacterial species that were present when Campylobacter was absent. The presence of specific microbes when Campylobacter is absent suggests they may compete with Campylobacter in the gut. Overall, these findings may be valuable for developing an evidence-based approach to design tailored gut microbial communities to reduce Campylobacter colonization in poultry to enhance food safety.

Technical Abstract: Campylobacter is a major food safety concern and are transmitted to humans mainly via contaminated poultry meat. We previously found that some commercial broiler farms consistently produced Campylobacter-negative flocks while others consistently raised Campylobacter-positive flocks for multiple consecutive cycles even though the farms operated under similar production and management practices. We hypothesized that this remarkable difference in Campylobacter colonization might be associated with the microbiota compositions of the chicken gut. In the current study, six commercial broiler farms were selected based on their confirmed Campylobacter status (three negative and three positive) to evaluate the microbiota differences between each farm category. For each farm on each production cycle (two cycles for 5 farms, three cycles for 1 farm), 60 whole ceca (15/house, four houses in total) were collected from five-week-old broilers. Forty ceca per farm were processed for Campylobacter culture and microbiota (16S rRNA gene sequencing-based) analysis. Cecal microbiota species richness, phylogenetic diversity, community structure, and composition of the Campylobacter-positive farms were noticeably different from the Campylobacter-negative farms. Differential abundance analysis revealed that genera such as Rikenella, Methanocorpusculum, Barnesiella, Parasutterella, and Helicobacter were significantly more abundant among Campylobacter-positive farms than the Campylobacter-negative farms. On the other hand, Ruminococcaceae_DTU 089, Streptococcus, Escherichia, Eggerthellaceae_CHKCI002, Lactobacillus, Monoglobus, and Blausia were significantly more abundant in the Campylobacter-negative farms. Pearson’s correlation analysis indicated that Eggerthellaceae_CHKCI002, Clostridia_UCG.014, Lachnospiraceae(f), Lactobacillus, Monoglobus, and Parabacteroides were significantly negatively correlated with Campylobacter abundance. These results indicate that cecal microbiota diversity and composition significantly differed between the Campylobacter-positive and -negative broiler farms. These findings also suggest that specific members of cecal microbiota, such as Lactobacillus, may influence Campylobacter colonization in commercial broilers and may be further explored as microbiota-based intervention to control Campylobacter in poultry.