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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: ANIMAL INTESTINAL MICROBIOMES, FOODBORNE PATHOGENS, AND ANTIMICROBIALS Title: Poultry intestinal microbiota (turkeys; chickens) – animal health and food safety perspectives

Authors
item Levine, Uri
item Stanton, Thaddeus

Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Metagenomics
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 27, 2012
Publication Date: September 27, 2012
Citation: Levine, U.Y., Stanton, T.B. 2012. Poultry intestinal microbiota (turkeys; chickens) – animal health and food safety perspectives. Encyclopedia of Metagenomics [serial online]. Available: http://www.springerreference.com/docs/html/chapterdbid/303274.html.

Interpretive Summary: This chapter presents an overview of the current knowledge of the microbes in the gut of poultry, with particular focus upon which microbes make up the community, how the microbes get into the gut, and on Campylobacter, the bacterial member of the poultry gut with the greatest impact upon food safety. Studies have found the microbes in poultry differ depending upon the gut compartment. Microbes that can thrive in oxygen and oxygen-free environments are found in the early parts of the gut (the crop through the ileum (small intestine)), while microbes that live best in oxygen-free environments dominate the later parts of gut (cecum and colon). Each bird species has a unique community of microbial species in its gut which it acquires after hatching. However, the poultry gut communities resemble each other as well as other gut microbial communities. A number of possible ways to reduce Campylobacter in the gut have been explored, but as of yet no commercial product has come from the research. New sequencing technologies, like those implemented in metagenomics, have not been widely implemented in poultry gut studies, but they hold considerable promise in helping provide the additional data needed to understand the microbes in the poultry gut as well as insight into attempts to control Campylobacter.

Technical Abstract: This chapter presents an overview of the current knowledge of the microbes in the gut of poultry, with particular focus upon which microbes make up the community, how the microbes get into the gut, and on Campylobacter, the bacterial member of the poultry gut with the greatest impact upon food safety. Studies have found the microbes in poultry differ depending upon the gut compartment with Lactobacilli and other facultative anaerobes thriving in the crop through the ileum. In the cecum and colon strict anaerobes like Clostridia dominate. Each bird species harbors a uniqe microbial community which it aquires after hatching. However, the poultry gut communities resemble each other, and like other gut microbial communities are dominated by the phyla Firmicutes and Bacteroidetes. A number of possible ways to reduce Campylobacter in the poultry gut have been explored, but as of yet no commercial product has come from the research. Metagenomics has thus far been rarely implimented in studies of the poultry gut, but it holds considerable promise in providing additional data and understanding to the microbial community, and to attempts to control Campylobacter.

Last Modified: 11/21/2014