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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: MOLECULAR CHARACTERIZATION AND GASTROINTESTINAL TRACT ECOLOGY OF COMMENSAL HUMAN FOOD-BORNE BACTERIAL PATHOGENS IN THE CHICKEN

Location: Poultry Microbiological Safety Research

Title: Contaminated Larval and Adult Lesser Mealworms, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)can Transmit Salmonella Typhimurium in a Broiler Flock

Authors
item Roche, A - UNIV OF GEORGIA
item Cox, Nelson
item Richardson, Larry
item Buhr, Richard
item Cason Jr, John
item Fairchild, B - UNIV OF GEORGIA
item Hinkle, N - UNIV OF GEORGIA

Submitted to: Poultry Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 24, 2008
Publication Date: January 5, 2009
Citation: Roche, A.J., Cox Jr, N.A., Richardson, L.J., Buhr, R.J., Cason Jr, J.A., Fairchild, B.D., Hinkle, N.C. 2009. Contaminated Larval and Adult Lesser Mealworms, Alphitobius diaperinus (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae)can Transmit Salmonella Typhimurium in a Broiler Flock. Poultry Science. 88:44-48.

Interpretive Summary: Darkling beetles are common litter pest in broiler houses and are regularly ingested by broilers. These beetles could potentially serve as vectors of Salmonella to the current and subsequent broiler flocks if Salmonella could persist in these beetles over a long duration. The objective of this study was to evaluate colonization in broilers and subsequent transmission to non-challenged pen mates when chicks were gavaged with larval or adult beetles or saline containing a marker S. Typhimurium. It was demonstrated that ingestion of larval or adult beetles contaminated with Salmonella could be a significant means for Salmonella transmission to broilers and then to pen mates.

Technical Abstract: The ability of the lesser mealworm, Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer), commonly known as the darkling beetle, to transmit a marker strain Salmonella Typhimurium to day-of-hatch broiler chicks was evaluated, as well as the spread to non-challenged pen mates. Day-of-hatch chicks were orally gavaged with 4 larval or 4 adult beetles (4 pens each) that had been exposed to Salmonella-inoculated feed for 72 h. One or 2 chicks were then placed into pens to serve as challenged broilers. In the second trial, each pen received 2 challenged chicks that were gavaged with larvae or adults that had been exposed to Salmonella-inoculated feed for 24 h and then removed from the inoculated feed for 7 d. At 3 wk of age ceca samples from the Salmonella-challenged broilers and from 5 pen mates in Trial 1, or 10 pen mates in Trial 2, were evaluated for the presence of Salmonella, and at 6 wk of age all remaining pen mates were sampled. To monitor environmental persistence of the marker-Salmonella within pens, stepped-on drag swab litter samples were taken weekly. For the control (Salmonella-saline) pens, 29 to 33% of the broilers that had been challenged and 10 to 55% of the pen mates were positive at 3 wk of age, and 2 to 6% at 6 wk. For the adult beetle-challenged pens, 0 to 57% of the challenged broilers and 20 to 40% of pen mates were positive at 3 wk, and 4 to 7% were positive at 6 wk. The larvae-challenged pens had the highest percentage of Salmonella-positive broilers; 25 to 33% of the challenged broilers and 45 to 58 % of pen mates were positive at 3 wk, and 11 to 27% positive at 6 wk. These results demonstrated that ingestion of 4 larval or adult beetles contaminated with Salmonella could be a significant means for Salmonella transmission to broilers and then to pen mates.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014
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