New Treatment Cuts the Smell out of Waste, Rendered Chicken

US & CHINA - Scientists have identified a bacteriophage treatment that can cut the activity of hydrogen sulphide-producing bacteria, creating a number of advantages in the chicken meat processing and rendering sectors.
calendar icon 8 April 2014
clock icon 3 minute read

Hydrogen sulphide-producing bacteria (SPB) can spoil raw animal materials and release harmful hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas, according to Chao Gong of Clemson University in the US.

In a paper in Poultry Science co-written with another Clemson researcher and a scientist from Nanchang University in China, a phage cocktail is shown to be effective in reducing the production of hydrogen sulphide by SPB significantly in raw animal materials.

This biological control method can control SPB in raw poultry by-products at ambient temperatures, they added, leading to a safer working environment and high quality product with less nutrient degradation for the rendering industry.

The objective of their study was to apply a SPB-specific bacteriophage cocktail to control hydrogen sulphide production by SPB in different raw poultry by-products in the laboratory (20, 30 and 37°C) and greenhouse (average temperature 29 to 31°C, humidity 34.8 to 59.8 per cent, and light intensity 604.8Wm2) by simulating transportation and a rendering facility.

The amount of hydrogen sulphide production was determined using either test strips impregnated with lead acetate or a H2S monitor.

In the laboratory, phage treatment applied to fresh chicken meat inoculated with SPB, spoiled chicken meat, chicken guts and chicken feathers reduced hydrogen sulphide production by approximately 25 to 69 per cent at temperatures from 20 to 37°C. In the greenhouse, phage treatment achieved approximately a 30 to 85 per cent reduction of hydrogen sulphide yield in chicken offal and feathers.

Among all phage treatments, multiplicity of infection of 100 exhibited the highest inhibitory activities against SPB on hydrogen sulphide production, reported Gong and co-authors.

Several factors such as initial SPB level, temperature and multiplicity of infection affect lytic activities of bacteriophages.


Gong C., X. Liu and X. Jiang. 2014. Application of bacteriophages specific to hydrogen sulfide-producing bacteria in raw poultry by-products. Poultry Science. 93(3):702-710. doi: 10.3382/ps.2013-03520

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