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Caprylic Acid Reduces Enteric Campylobacter Colonization in Market-Aged Broiler Chickens but Does Not Appear To Alter Cecal Microbial Populations

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Campylobacter is a leading cause of foodborne illness in the United States, and epidemiological evidence indicates poultry products to be a significant source of human Campylobacter infections. Caprylic acid, an eight-carbon medium-chain fatty acid, reduces Campylobacter colonization in chickens. How caprylic acid reduces Campylobacter carriage may be related to changes in intestinal microflora. To evaluate this possibility, cecal microbial populations were evaluated with denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis from market-age broiler chickens fed caprylic acid. In the first trial, chicks (n = 40 per trial) were assigned to four treatment groups (n = 10 birds per treatment group): positive controls (Campylobacter, no caprylic acid), with or without a 12-h feed withdrawal before slaughter; and 0.7% caprylic acid supplemented in feed for the last 3 days of the trial, with or without a 12-h feed withdrawal before slaughter. Treatments were similar for trial 2, except caprylic acid was supplemented for the last 7 days of the trial. At age 14 days, chicks were orally challenged with Campylobacter jejuni, and on day 42, ceca were collected for denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis and Campylobacter analysis. Caprylic acid supplemented for 3 or 7 days at 0.7% reduced Campylobacter compared with the positive controls, except for the 7-day treatment with a 12-h feed withdrawal period. Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis profiles of the cecal content showed very limited differences in microbial populations. The results of this study indicate that caprylic acid's ability to reduce Campylobacter does not appear to be due to changes in cecal microflora.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Poultry Science Department, University of Arkansas, 1260 West Maple Street, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, USA 2: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Food and Feed Safety Research Unit, Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center, 2881 F&B Road, College Station, Texas 77845, USA 3: Department of Animal Science, University of Connecticut, Storrs, Connecticut 06269, USA 4: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Poultry Production and Product Safety Research Unit, Fayetteville, Arkansas 72701, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2010

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