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What’s New in Biosecurity for Poultry?

03 May 2015

A summary of some of the latest developments on the prevention of poultry and foodborne diseases that have been published or presented at scientific conferences recently.

Biosecurity can be thought of as a protective bubble around the poultry farm or processing plant. As long as it remains intact, the chance of pathogens entering is minimal but prick the bubble with just one mistake or lapse in concentration and the results could be disastrous for the business.

How to keep that biosecurity bubble strong and intact has been at the heart of several research projects.

Understanding Poultry House Disinfection

In recent years, cleaning and disinfection (C&D) guidelines have been produced to help farmers to reduce the infection pressure on the farm, according to Dr Koen De Reu of the Institute for Agricultural and Fisheries Research (ILVO) in Melle, Belgium and co-authors in a paper in Poultry Science.

Some countries require official periodic control of the general hygiene status of broiler houses after C&D, and this is controlled by determining the total aerobic flora with agar contact plates (ACP) taken at different places in the broiler house.

However, according to these researchers, there are many practical questions regarding the best temperature for the cleaning water and methods of cleaning and disinfection and a prerequisite for the evaluation of the effectiveness of C&D protocols is a proven reliable test.

So the researchers looked at successive steps in cleaning and disinfection with the view to selecting the most suitable sampling methods and parameters to evaluate C&D in broiler houses.

Overall, they found that the mean total aerobic flora determined by swab samples decreased from 7.7 ± 1.4 to 5.7 ± 1.2 log colony forming units (CFU) per 625 square centimetres after cleaning and to 4.2 ± 1.6 log CFU after disinfection – a reduction by a factor of 1,000.

It turned out that ACP were less suitable than swab sampling although the ACP gave more objective information about the level of hygiene than visual evaluation alone. The swabs can be used over larger and irregular surfaces than the plates.

In addition to measuring total aerobic flora, Enterococcus spp. seemed to be a better hygiene indicator to evaluate cleaning and disinfection protocols than E. coli.

All the broiler houses tested were negative for Salmonella but the detection of its indicator organism, E. coli, provided additional information for evaluating C&D protocols.

Adenosine triphosphate analyses gave additional information about the hygiene level of the different sampling points De Reu and co-authors added.

Ultrasonic for Disinfection

The pathogens intervention system is a key part of poultry processing. A disinfection system that can use chemical disinfectants effectively, reduce and/or eliminate harmful byproducts is in demand more than ever, according to Aklilu G Giorges of Georgia Tech Research Institute.

Addressing the International Poultry Scientific Forum in the US earlier this year, he explained that the goal of his project was to evaluate the effectiveness of sonication (ultrasound) for the inactivation of Salmonella, with and without chemical disinfection in poultry chiller water.

He and his colleagues investigated the ultrasonic effect of various power intensities, volumes and exposure times.

They found that a correlation between an increase in ultrasonic energy, increase in exposure time, and decrease in volume that led to better disinfection of Salmonella, showing that ultrasound can be used to inhibit Salmonella growth.

When they tested different chemical disinfectants (chlorine, peracetic acid) in the chiller water, the disinfection was greater when ultrasound was combined with the chemical than with the chemicals only.

Dissolved Air Flotation for Pre-treatment of Poultry Wastewater

At the same conference in Atlanta, Wilbert Menkveld of Nijhuis Water Technology B.V in the Netherlands explained that dissolved air flotation (DAF) has been successfully applied as industrial wastewater treatment for many years.

Recent technological improvements, he said, have expanded the applicability to the pre-treatment of wastewater, and his company, which has supplied more than 1,700 DAF systems worldwide, has developed a new ‘Intelligent DAF’ which achieves better chemical oxygen demand (COD) and total suspended solids (TSS) removal than other systems due to smarter flow pattern, smaller bubble size and intelligent aeration control.

Up to 60 per cent of the TSS can be removed by DAF from poultry slaughterhouse wastewater, Mr Menkveld explained, and with chemical additives, the removal increases up to 99 per cent of TSS and up to 85 per cent COD removal.

Research and the first full-scale Intelligent DAF installations have delivered higher removal efficiencies at lower energy use per cubic metre of treated waste water than older installations, he added.

In a following presentation, Mr Menkveld explained that his company’s AecomixTM system: converts waste into clean water and biogas.

It is particularly suited to plants with wastewaters with a significant TSS and/or fats, oils and greases, as in the chicken industry.


  1. Luyck, K., J. Dewulf, S. Van Weyenberg, L. Herman, J. Zoons, E. Vervaet, M. Heyndrickx and K. De Reu. 2015. Comparison of sampling procedures and microbiological and non-microbiological parameters to evaluate cleaning and disinfection in broiler houses. Poultry Science 94:740-749.
  2. Giorges A.G., D. Britten and J. Pierson. 2015. Ultrasonic for disinfection. International Poultry Scientific Forum, Atlanta, US. January 2015.
  3. Menkveld W and S. Verbeek. 2015. Dissolved air flotation as superior pre-treatment for poultry waste water. International Poultry Scientific Forum, Atlanta, US. January 2015.
  4. Menkveld W. 2015. The AecomixTM system: converting waste and waster in one reactor towards clean water and biogas. International Poultry Scientific Forum, Atlanta, US. January 2015.

May 2015

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