Submitted to: Campylobacter Helicobacter and Related Organisms International Workshop
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 14, 2003
Publication Date: August 25, 2003
Citation: Hiett, K.L., Cox Jr, N.A., Phillips, K.M. 2003. PCR detection of naturally occurring Campylobacter spp. in commercial chicken embryos. Campylobacter Helicobacter and Related Organisms International Workshop. International Journal of Medical Microbiology. 293:137. Technical Abstract: Campylobacter, a foodborne pathogen closely associated with poultry, is considered to be the most frequent agent of human gastroenteritis in the United States. The pathways involved in the contamination of poultry flocks remain unclear. In this investigation, two trials were performed where seven, fifteen, and nineteen day-old commercial chicken embryos were tested, and seven, fourteen, and eighteen day-old commercial chicken embryos were tested, using cultural methodology and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), for the presence of Campylobacter. Conventional cultural methods were unable to detect Campylobacter from any samples tested in this study. PCR, using a set of primers specific for the Campylobacter flaA short variable region (SVR), detected the presence of Campylobacter DNA in 100%, 80%, and 100% of stomached intestinal contents from seven, fifteen, and nineteen day-old embryos respectively in the first trial. PCR detected the presence of Campylobacter DNA in 100%, 70%, and 60% of stomached intestinal contents of seven, fourteen, and eighteen day-old embryos respectively in the second trail. Additional yolk sac and liver/gall bladder samples from nineteen day-old embryos, collected in trial 1, were all PCR negative. Yolk sac, albumen, and liver/gall bladder samples collected in the second trial were also all PCR negative. Subsequent DNA sequence analyses of selected PCR products wer consistent with the amplicon arising from the SVR of the flaA gene of Campylobacter. A determination of whether the organism was living or dead within the embryos could not be made. These results demonstrate that Campylogacter is present within the intestinal tract of chicken embryos; however, the means by which it is present and the relative contribution of subsequent Campylobacter contamination of poultry flocks will require further investigation.