Detection of Campylobacter in Air Samples May Offer New Monitoring System for Broiler Flocks
New research from Denmark suggests a promising method using air samples to continuously monitor broiler flocks for the presence of the foodborne pathogen Campylobacter. The findings are reported in the April 2009 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Campylobacter is one of the most common cause of diarrheal illnesses in humans worldwide. Research estimates that about half of the cases of human Campylobacteriosis originate from livestock, with poultry considered to be the most important source of infection. The slow and complicated process of detecting Campylobacter through culture-based identification has emphasized the need for more efficient detection devices and methodologies.
In the study researchers used the PCR method to detect Campylobacter in feces, dust, and air samples during the lifetime of broiler flocks in two poultry houses. Results showed that the sensitivity of detection of Campylobacter in air samples was comparable to detection in the other sample materials. Further monitoring of airborne particles in six poultry houses suggested that aerodynamic conditions depended on the age of the chickens, but were very comparable among different poultry houses. Lastly, researchers found that Campylobacter could be detected by PCR method in air samples collected only during the hanging stage of the slaughter process.
“The exploitation of airborne dust in poultry houses as a sample material for the detection of Campylobacter and other pathogens provides an intriguing possibility, in conjunction with new detection technologies, for allowing continuous or semicontinuous monitoring of colonization status,” say the researchers.
K.N. Olsen, M. Lund, J. Skov, L.S. Christensen, J. Hoorfar. 2009. Detection of Campylobacter bacteria in air samples for continuous real-time monitoring of Campylobacter colonization in broiler flocks. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 75. 7: 2074-2078.