The growing interest in organic and natural foods warrants a greater need for information on the food safety of these products. In this study, samples were taken from 2 pasture flock farms (N= 178; feed, water, drag swabs, and insect traps), pasture flock retail carcasses (N= 48) and 1 pasture flock processing facility (N= 16) over a period of 8 mo. A total of 105 Campylobacter isolates were obtained from 53 (30%), 36 (75%), and 16 (100%) samples from the farms, retail carcasses, and processing facility, respectively. Of the 105 isolates collected, 65 were C. jejuni, 31 were C. coli, and 9 were other Campylobacter spp. Using PCR, the C. jejuni isolates were further analyzed for virulence genes involved in colonization and survival (flaA, flaC, cadF, dnaJ, racR, cbrR), invasion (virB11, ciaB, pldA), protection against harsh conditions (sodB, htrA, clpA), toxin production (cdtA, cdtB, cdtC), siderophore transport (ceuE), and ganglioside mimicry (wlaN). In addition, the short variable region of the flaA locus (flaA SVR) was sequenced to determine the genetic diversity of the C. jejuni isolates. The flaA SVR diversity indices increased along the farm to carcass continuum. PCR-based analysis indicated a low prevalence of 5 genes involved in colonization (dnaJ, ciaB, pldA, racR, virB11). The results of this survey indicate that the prevalence of Campylobacter on organic retail carcasses is similar to prevalence reports of Campylobacter on conventional retail carcasses. However, the genetic diversity of the flaA SVR genotypes increased along the farm to carcass continuum that contrasted with conventional poultry studies. 2010 Institute of Food Technologists®.
"In MCLF or backyard farming practice, postharvest processing can be carried out manually on the farm in rudimentary facilities. As a result, prevalence of foodborne pathogens is highly variable from farm to farm or even day to day (Melendez et al., 2010; Hanning et al., 2010; Salaheen and Biswas, unpublished data). MCLFs or backyard farmers ideally and conceptually follow similar poultry processing techniques that are adopted in large processing plants, but on a much smaller scale. "
"Five strains of C. jejuni, 3 isolated from whole raw retail poultry carcasses reared under conventional methods and 2 isolated from whole raw poultry carcasses reared in pastures, were isolated as previously described (Hanning et al., 2010). Briefly, whole carcasses were rinsed in 400 mL of PBS for 2 min using an arcing motion. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Campylobacter jejuni is a leading cause of foodborne illness, with poultry and poultry products being leading sources of infection. Epidemiological efforts to trace Campylobacter can be challenging because of the extreme genetic diversity of this bacterium relative to other foodborne pathogens. To enhance tracking and epidemiological efforts, whole-genome sequencing has been used for other foodborne pathogens but not yet been evaluated for practicality with Campylobacter. Thus, the purpose of this study was to evaluate whole-genome sequencing as a genotyping method for C. jejuni by comparing it with 2 commonly used genotyping methods, namely pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and flaA typing. Whole-genome sequence data were generated using the Roche-454 sequencing platform to map Campylobacter strains (VOL_3, VOL_5, VOL_8, VOL_11, and VOL_20) isolated from conventional and organic poultry. Five additional isolates with published genomes were also compared. The PFGE profiles were created using Sma I digestion. For the flaA short variable region sequencing, standard PCR methods were used and high-quality Sanger reads were generated. The PFGE profiles of strains VOL_3 and VOL_11 were found to be indistinguishable, and strain VOL_20 was found indistinguishable from NCTC 11168. Whole-genome comparisons between strains VOL_20 and 11168 were in agreement with the obtained PFGE profiles, as these 2 isolates had very similar genome sizes, a number of shared genes (1,580), and very similar % G-C content (30.6). Of the 8 strains, 2 strains (VOL_3 and VOL_11) had identical flaA types. Whole-genome sequencing was the most discriminatory of the typing methods. However, the cost and time effort needed to sequence and assemble the genomes may hinder efforts, and therefore, we conclude that more bioinformatics tools need to be developed for whole-genome sequencing to be used as an epidemiological tool.
"Furthermore, most of these studies have detected similarities in Campylobacter prevalence between conventional and organic flocks, indicating that environmental conditions have minimal influence on overall Campylobacter contamination levels (Cui et al., 2005; Han et al., 2009). Hanning et al. (2010) screened 242 samples from 2 pasture flocks, facilities, and retail carcasses for 8 mo and isolated 105 Campylobacter species (43%). Han et al. (2009) also detected a 43.3% Campylobacter contamination level in birds raised in conventional and organic chickens in Louisiana. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Consumer demand for nonconventional poultry products continues to increase in the United States. In pasture flock and organic poultry production, probiotics and prebiotic feed additives have potential advantages because they are thought to promote intestinal health and may offer a replacement for current intervention strategies that are not considered acceptable for these production systems. Prebiotics have been demonstrated to produce effects on the gastrointestinal tract including modulation of microflora by promoting selective increases in beneficial bacteria concomitant with decreases in undesirable bacteria. In-depth assessment of microbial community changes during host growth and development as well as the establishment of beneficial microbial species by adding biologicals such as probiotics and prebiotics is important to achieve predictable and consistent improvements in chicken health and productivity. To analyze microflora shifts and metabolites produced by bacteria in the gut as well as host responses to biological additives, sophisticated molecular techniques are now available and are becoming more widely used. Polymerase chain reaction assays, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, and temperature gradient gel electrophoresis offer approaches for detecting microbial shifts in the gut. Likewise, the employment of microarrays and molecular analysis of gut tissues can reveal insight into gut physiological and responses to dietary and other changes. Recent application of 16S rDNA sequencing and analysis utilizing basic local alignment search tool (BLAST) and FASTA databases on poultry gut samples have the potential to provide a much more in-depth assessment of the gut microbiome. Utilizing ultra pressure liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy profiling, metabolomic assessment of gut contents will also allow for parallel comparisons of changes in the gut contents with microbiome and physiological responses. Combining all these technologies will provide a plenary understanding of poultry gut health in alternative production systems.
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