Probiotics Help Beat Campylobacter in Chickens

EU - In the search to find ways to reduce the transmission of foodborne disease from poultry products, researchers in Spain and Finland have found that probiotic products used by humans helped to reduce colonisation of the chicken gut with Campylobacter bacteria.
calendar icon 18 June 2012
clock icon 3 minute read

Probiotics used for humans showed promise at reducing the colonisation of the chicken gut with Campylobacter, according to researchers from Spain and Finland.

Writing in Zoonoses and Public Health, M. Ganan of Universidad Complutense de Madrid and co-authors explain that Campylobacter is the most common cause of bacterial food-borne diarrhoeal disease throughout the world. The principal risk of human contamination is handling and consumption of contaminated poultry meat. Co-authors represented the Institute of Industrial Fermentation (CSIC) and the Institute for the Investigation of Nutrition Science (CIAL), also in Madrid, and Finland’s University of Turku and University of Helsinki.

To colonise poultry, Campylobacter adheres to and persists in the mucus layer that covers the intestinal epithelium. Inhibiting adhesion to the mucus could prevent colonisation of the intestine, the group hypothesised.

The aim of the study was to investigate in vitro the protective effect of defined commercial human probiotic strains on the adhesion of Campylobacter spp. to chicken intestinal mucus, in a search for alternatives to antibiotics to control this food-borne pathogen.

The probiotic strains, Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG and Propionibacterium freudenreichii ssp. shermanii JS and a starter culture strain Lactococcus lactis ssp. lactis adhered well to chicken intestinal mucus and were able to reduce the binding of Campylobacter spp. when the mucus was colonised with the probiotic strain before contacting the pathogen.

Human-intended probiotics could be useful as prophylactics in poultry feeding for controlling Campylobacter spp. colonisation, concluded the researchers.


Ganan, M., Martinez-Rodriguez, A. J., Carrascosa, A.V., Vesterlund, S., Salminen, S. and Satokari, R. 2012. Interaction of Campylobacter spp. and human probiotics in chicken intestinal mucus. Zoonoses and Public Health. doi: 10.1111/j.1863-2378.2012.01510.x

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