Title page for ETD etd-05082009-115556

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Kuntz, Thomas James
Author's Email Address tjkuntz@vt.edu
URN etd-05082009-115556
Title Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella spp. Detection in Chicken Grow Out Houses by Environmental Sampling Methods
Degree Master of Science
Department Food Science and Technology
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Eifert, Joseph D. Committee Chair
Ponder, Monica A. Committee Member
Schmale, David G. III Committee Member
  • gelatin filters
  • poultry
  • air sampling
  • environmental sampling
  • Salmonella
  • Campylobacter
Date of Defense 2009-04-24
Availability restricted
Campylobacter and Salmonella are foodborne pathogens commonly associated with raw poultry. Although there has been much research done on isolating these pathogens from poultry production environments using cloacal swabs, fecal samples, intestinal tract contents and dissection, research involving environmental sampling has been limited. New and/or improved environmental sampling methods may provide an easy, convenient, and less time-consuming way to collect samples. Coupling these sampling methods with PCR may provide a relatively simple, rapid, and robust means of testing for foodborne pathogens in a chicken house or flock prior to slaughter.

Air, boot and sponge samples were collected from three commercial chicken grow-out houses located in southwestern Virginia when flocks were three, four, and five weeks old. Air samples were collected onto gelatin filters. Fecal/litter samples were collected from disposable booties worn over investigator’s protective shoe coverings. Pre-moistened sponges were used to sample house feed pans and water dispensers on drink lines. A PCR method was used to qualitatively detect Campylobacter jejuni and Salmonella spp. Campylobacter jejuni was detected at each farm (house), across all three ages (3, 4, and 5 weeks), and from each sample type. Salmonella was not detected in any of the environmental samples. For all 270 samples, 41% (110/270) were positive for Campylobacter. Collectively, 28% (25/90) of air, 44% (40/90) of sponge, and 50% (45/90) of bootie samples were positive for Campylobacter. The methods used in this study are non-invasive to live animals, relatively rapid and specific, and could enable poultry processing facilities to coordinate scheduled processing of flocks with lower pathogen incidence, as a way to reduce post-slaughter pathogen transmission.

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