Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 4, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: There is a need for economical methods to reduce the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella during poultry production so that cleaner product may be delivered to consumers and the risk of foodborne illness is decreased. This study was done to determine if raising broiler chickens on litter treated with aluminum sulfate (alum) or sodium bisulfate would reduce Campylobacter or Salmonella populations associated with the chickens during production. Pine shavings contaminated with Campylobacter and Salmonella by previous flocks of inoculated broilers were treated with two levels of alum (8 or 16 lbs/50 ft2) or sodium bisulfate (2.5 or 4 lbs/50 ft2); untreated litter served as the control. Broilers were grown for 6 weeks and sampled to determine the effect of the treatments on Campylobacter and Salmonella populations and incidence. Populations of campylobacters isolated from the ceca were reduced by all litter treatments; the high-level alum treatment demonstrated the most significant reduction in these populations. No Campylobacter was recovered at any time from the exterior carcass of broiler chickens in the high- level alum-treated pens. Salmonella incidence and populations were not significantly decreased by any of the treatments investigated. This research suggests that acidifying litter treatments may help control Campylobacter in broiler flocks and may provide the poultry industry with economical means to help meet food safety objectives.
Technical Abstract: Two commercially available acidifying litter treatments, aluminum sulfate (alum) and sodium bisulfate, were tested to determine their effect on Campylobacter and Salmonella associated with broilers raised on treated pine litter. To produce contaminated litter, broiler chicks were inoculated with bacterial cocktails (multi-strain mixtures of campylobacters and salmonellae), and allowed to shed on the litter for about 6 weeks. Upon bird removal, litter in duplicate pens was treated with two levels of alum (8 or 16 lbs/50 ft2) or sodium bisulfate (2.5 or 4 lbs/50 ft2); untreated pens served as controls. Immediately after treatment, day-of-hatch chicks were released in the pens. Frequency and populations of Campylobacter and Salmonella associated with ceca and whole carcass rinse (WCR) samples were determined for each duplicate pen at weeks 1, 4 and 6. Both levels of alum and sodium bisulfate tested significantly (p < 0.05) reduced Campylobacter colonization frequency and populations in the ceca. Significantly, no Campylobacter was recovered from WCR samples associated with high alum treated pens at any time. Salmonella colonization frequency and populations in the ceca were not significantly decreased by any of the treatments investigated. While effective pathogen control will most likely require a combination of interventions, acidifying litter treatments may serve as a means to help control Campylobacter in broiler flocks.