Food-borne pathogens, especially Salmonella and Campylobacter, cause serious illness in humans. These two pathogens account for over 90% of all food poisoning cases worldwide. Chickens and chicken products may harbor these pathogens and the use of antibiotics in chickens may result in the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in the gut. The main objective of this study is to manipulate the chicken gut microflora, via the use of prebiotics/probiotics, to effectively reduce Salmonella burden and shedding. Furthermore, this study seeks to determine the effects of these manipulations on the chicken immune system. Examination of immunological attributes of prebiotics/probiotics will provide a platform for discovering novel prophylactic strategies against infectious diseases in chickens. This is a collaborative and multi-disciplinary research program with scientists from University of Guelph, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and Ontario Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
Expected Impact of Project Outcomes on Food Safety in Ontario: Every year, there are over 17,000 reported cases of human infections with Salmonella and Camplyobacter in Canada. Poultry products are the source of infection in some of these cases. Moreover, consumers have growing concerns about food-borne pathogens, presence of antibiotic residues in food, and emergence of antibiotic-resistant microorganisms. With imminent restrictions on the sub-therapeutic use of antibiotics in food animals and worldwide migration towards antibiotic replacements, it is apparent that alternative strategies should be sought to effectively address the above issues. The proposed study is designed to assess the feasibility of using antibiotic replacements, in form of pre/probiotics, in poultry feed to reduce shedding of food-borne pathogens. It is expected that the findings of this study will be directly applied to poultry production in Ontario and should significantly reduce the risk of presence of food-borne pathogens in poultry products. Moreover, these interventions will have an impact on poultry health, in general, thus reducing the need for other therapeutic and prophylactic interventions.
<P> For more information, please visit the <a href="http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/research/foodsafety/index.html" target="_blank">Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food & Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Food Safety Research Program</a>.