Epidemiology of the Campylobacter infection in broilers: variations of the microbiota in the caecum with age, breed and feed, and their impact on the infection as a basis for designing sustainable control strategies

  • Financing: INIA (National Institute for Agricultural and Food Research and Technology) RTA2013-00086-00-00
  • Head researcher: Ana Hurtado
  • Implementation: 2015-2017

The overall objective of this project is to improve control of infection by Campylobacter on broiler farms.

The specific objectives are:

1. To evaluate the effect of different factors on the intestinal microbiota in birds and of this on colonisation by pathogenic bacteria such as Campylobacter, as a basis for developing sustainable infection control systems:
A) Studying the effect of food on infection by C. jejuni: We will undertake an experimental infection (E2) on various groups of animals, subjecting them to different dietary patterns (which will include whey) and we will study their effect on the microbiome and productive performance.
B) Studying variations in the avian microbiome with age and breed: we will compare the microbiome of rapid growth, intensive management broiler chickens (42 days) against slower growing (90 days), free-range farmhouse chickens, at different stages of the production system.
2. To monitor the entry process and spread of the Campylobacter infection in a herd throughout the production period: We will take environmental samples prior to the entry of animals and, during the production period, we will take samples from the atmosphere and the animals:
A) Spread of Campylobacter in the atmosphere (air, dust, insects and water)
B) Determination of the bacterial load of Campylobacter (faeces, cloacal swabs and content of the caecum on slaughter)
C) Characterisation of circulating genotypes of Campylobacter