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Provision of Lactose to Molting Hens Enhances Resistance to Salmonella enteritidis Colonization

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Older leghorn hens, more than 50 weeks of age, were divided into three groups designated 1, unmolted controls; 2, molted; or 3, molted treated with lactose. Forced molt was induced by 14 days of feed removal. Lactose was provided to the hens in group 3 as 2.5% (wt/vol) of the daily drinking water. Each hen in all groups was challenged orally with 105 Salmonella enteritidis (SE) cells on day 7 of feed removal. The study was repeated in three replicated trials. The concentrations of acetic, propionic, and total volatile fatty acids (VFA) in the cecal contents of the molted hens in groups 2 and 3 decreased significantly (P < 0.05) on days 6 and 14 of molt compared with the unmolted controls. Forced molt had no apparent effect on pH or on the oxidation-reduction potential of the ceca. Compared to the unmolted controls, SE cecal and spleen and liver colonization was significantly increased (P < 0.05) in the molted hens in group 2. Compared to the molted hens in group 2, SE cecal and spleen and liver colonization was significantly decreased (P < 0.05) in two of three trials in the hens in group 3 provided with lactose. The results suggested that the increased susceptibility of molting hens to SE colonization may be associated with decreased fermentation and production of VFA by cecal bacteria or by a depletion of the number of VFA-producing bacteria present in the ceca. The results further suggest that providing lactose in the drinking water during molting may significantly enhance resistance to SE colonization.


Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Agricultural Research Service, Food Animal Protection Research Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2881 F&B Road, College Station, Texas 77845, USA 2: Department of Veterinary Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas 77843, USA 3: Agricultural Research Service, Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 934 College Station Road, Athens, Georgia 30605, USA

Publication date: January 1, 1997

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