Uncovering poultry challenges using ARM & HAMMER’S Microbial Terroir

ARM & HAMMER can assess a poultry operation’s risk for disease outbreaks
calendar icon 27 March 2023
clock icon 2 minute read

Jodi Delago, Poultry Product Development Manager at Arm & Hammer Animal and Food Production, spoke to The Poultry Site’s Sarah Mikesell about how ARM & HAMMER is helping to uncover challenges in livestock complexes.

Every operation has a Microbial Terroir™, the microbial makeup of the environment, soil, animals and weather at a specific farm location.

“We use our Microbial Terroir process to characterize and enumerate bacterial pathogens that are important to the poultry industry,” said Delago. “During this process, we take samples from a producer's own birds and enumerate key bacterial pathogens, typically E. coli and Clostridium. Then we take isolates from each individual sample. For further characterization, we use molecular methods to identify key virulence factors which help us to identify those bacteria which have the potential to cause disease in birds and distinguish them from those bacteria which are normal, harmless, members of the bacterial community.”

For example, using an assay to identify pathogenic E. coli, Delago looks for five specific genes, and those bacteria containing those genes are considered pathogenic for birds. Those that don't are harmless inhabitants of the microbiome.

“We take those isolates that we've identified as being pathogenic and subject them to testing against our panel of Bacillus probiotic strains to identify which of our Bacillus strains are most effective at inhibiting the growth of those bacterial pathogens,” she explained.

The resulting information is used to formulate a targeted microbial product which will be most effective against a producer’s specific pathogenic challenges. But the ARM & HAMMER team doesn’t stop there. They ask the producer to use the product for about six months. They will then collect additional samples and run the analysis, enumerating the key bacterial pathogens to determine how well the product is working. They will also test the pathogens against their panel of Bacillus strains to ensure they are continuing to use the most effective product to meet the producers unique challenging needs.

How do customers use this information?

“Our team of technicians use this information with customers to assess their risk of bacterial disease outbreaks,” she said. “They also identify specific production parameters or other factors that they could modify or change to help mitigate the risks of disease. Perhaps most importantly, we use this information to continuously evaluate our CERTILLUS product to ensure we are providing our customers with the most effective combination of Bacillus strains to meet their always changing needs.”

Targeted Microbial Solutions™ are available exclusively from ARM & HAMMER through its CERTILLUS products for feed, forage and manure.

Sarah Mikesell


Sarah Mikesell grew up on a five-generation family farming operation in Ohio, USA, where her family still farms. She feels extraordinarily lucky to get to do what she loves - write about livestock and crop agriculture. You can find her on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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