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Arkansas In-feed Probiotic Helps Control Campy

09 May 2013

US - Researchers in Arkansas have succeeded in identifying a probiotic isolate which, when fed to growing chicken, reduced the colonisation of the gut by Campylobacter.

Campylobacter is the leading cause of gastroenteritis worldwide. Campylobacter is commonly present in the intestinal tract of poultry, and one strategy to reduce enteric colonisation is the use of probiotic cultures. This strategy has successfully reduced enteric colonisation of Salmonella, but has had limited success against Campylobacter.

In an effort to improve the efficacy of probiotic cultures, Dr Dan Donoghue of the University of Arkansas and co-authors there and with the USDA Agricultural Research Service, also in Fayetteville, developed a novel in-vitro screening technique for selecting bacterial isolates with enhanced motility.

In a paper published in Foodborne Pathogens and Disease, they proposed that motility-selected bacteria have the marked ability to reach the same gastrointestinal niche in poultry and competitively reduce C. jejuni.

Their findings support the theory that the motility enhancement of potential probiotic bacteria may provide a strategy for reduction of C. jejuni in pre-harvest chickens.

Bacterial isolates were collected from caeca of healthy chickens, and motile isolates were identified and tested for anti-Campylobacter activity.

Isolates with these properties were selected for increased motility by passing each isolate 10 times and at each passage selecting bacteria that migrated the farthest during each passage.

Three bacterial isolates with the greatest motility (all Bacillus subtilis) were used alone or in combination in two chicken trials.

At day of hatch, chicks were administered these isolates alone or in combination (10 per treatment, two trials), and chicks were orally challenged with a mixture of four different wild-type strains of C. jejuni (105 colony-forming units (CFU) per mL on day 7. Isolate 1 reduced C. jejuni colonisation in both of the trials (p<0.05).

A follow-up study was conducted to compare isolate 1 subjected to enhanced motility selection with its non-selected form. A reduction (p<0.05) in Campylobacter colonisation was observed in all three trials in the chickens dosed using isolate with enhanced motility compared to the control and unselected isolate.


Aguiar V.F., A.M. Donoghue, K. Arsi, I. Reyes-Herrera, J.H. Metcalf, F.S. de los Santos, P.J. Blore and D.J. Donoghue. 2013. Targeting motility properties of bacteria in the development of probiotic cultures against Campylobacter jejuni in broiler chickens. Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. May 2013, 10(5):435-441. doi:10.1089/fpd.2012.1302

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