Campylobacter and bacteriophages
This study addresses the microbial ecology of the broiler gut, focusing specifically on the prevalence of Campylobacter at all stages of the broiler production process.
By analyzing scientific literature and collecting data, the authors found that contamination tends to increase as birds move through the production chain. Sources include contaminated water and feed during primary production and cross-contamination during slaughter and processing. However, research has also revealed a potential strategy to curb contamination: the use of bacteriophages or viruses that specifically target and infect bacterial cells.
Although further studies are needed to fully understand their efficacy, the authors’ findings suggest that bacteriophages could be a valuable tool for controlling Campylobacter levels in broiler production.
The authors Jatziri Mota-Gutierrez, Lukas Lis, Amaia Lasagabaster, Ibai Nafarrate, Ilario Ferrocino, Luca Cocolin, and Kalliopi Rantsiou published their research in their article Campylobacter spp. prevalence and mitigation strategies in the broiler production chain, dated June 2022.
- The objective of the study is to discuss the microbial ecology of broiler gut environment and Campylobacter prevalence throughout the broiler production chain, and then to develop a possible strategy for containment.
- The scientific literature of the last two decades was reviewed and data were collected to determine the ranges of Campylobacter contamination in different samples.
- Results indicated that pathogen exposure likely increases from primary production through slaughter, preparation, and processing, due in part to cross-contamination via machinery, work surfaces, water, air, and contact with contaminated feces.
- Identified knowledge gaps include the lack of studies on Campylobacter detection in most European countries over the past decade and the paucity of studies to determine bacterial loads in crates used to transport broilers prior to slaughter.
This study aims to discuss the microbial ecology of the broiler gut environment, Campylobacter prevalence across the broiler production chain with a follow-up focus on a possible mitigation strategy, based on the use of bacteriophages.
Scientific literature published from the last two decades was reviewed and data were collected to establish the ranges of Campylobacter loads from different samples.
Results showed that the pathogen load in the sample is likely to increase from the different stages of the production chain. Contamination of water and feed represents the most notable source of contamination during the primary production, while cross-contamination of broiler carcasses, skin, and meat occurs during the slaughter, dressing, and processing via machinery, work surfaces, water, and air partially due to the leaking of contaminated feces from visceral rupture.
Knowledge gaps were identified and included: a lack of studies detecting Campylobacter in broilers in most of the European countries over the last decade and a low number of studies determining the bacterial load in crates used to transport broilers to the slaughterhouse.
Determining the prevalence of Campylobacter in the broiler industry will enable us to set critical control points to produce broiler flocks and meat products with a low risk of Campylobacter contamination.
Keywords: Bacteriophage; Biocontrol; Chicken; Microbiota; Poultry; Public health risk.
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