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Prophylactic Supplementation of Caprylic Acid in Feed Reduces Salmonella Enteritidis Colonization in Commercial Broiler Chicks

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Salmonella Enteritidis is a major foodborne pathogen for which chickens serve as reservoir hosts. Reducing Salmonella Enteritidis carriage in chickens would reduce contamination of poultry meat and eggs with this pathogen. We investigated the prophylactic efficacy of feed supplemented with caprylic acid (CA), a natural, generally recognized as safe eight-carbon fatty acid, for reducing Salmonella Enteritidis colonization in chicks. One hundred commercial day-old chicks were randomly divided into five groups of 20 birds each: CA control (no Salmonella Enteritidis, CA), positive control (Salmonella Enteritidis, no CA), negative control (no Salmonella Enteritidis, no CA), and 0.7 or 1% CA. Water and feed were provided ad libitum. On day 8, birds were inoculated with 5.0 log CFU of Salmonella Enteritidis by crop gavage. Six birds from each group were euthanized on days 1, 7, and 10 after challenge, and Salmonella Enteritidis populations in the cecum, small intestine, cloaca, crop, liver, and spleen were enumerated. The study was replicated three times. CA supplementation at 0.7 and 1% consistently decreased Salmonella Enteritidis populations recovered from the treated birds. Salmonella Enteritidis counts in the tissue samples of CA-treated chicks were significantly lower (P < 0.05) than those of control birds on days 7 and 10 after challenge. Feed intake and body weight did not differ between the groups. Histological examination revealed no pathological changes in the cecum and liver of CA-supplemented birds. The results suggest that prophylactic CA supplementation through feed can reduce Salmonella Enteritidis colonization in day-old chicks and may be a useful treatment for reducing Salmonella Enteritidis carriage in chickens.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Animal Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269 2: Department of Pathobiology, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269 3: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701 4: Center for Excellence in Poultry Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, USA

Publication date: April 1, 2009

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