Phytogenic water blends inhibit Campylobacter in broilers

Providing a blend of phytogenic supplements to broilers in drinking water could improve Campylobacter control.

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David Tadevosian | Shutterstock
David Tadevosian | Shutterstock

Providing a blend of phytogenic supplements to broilers in drinking water could improve Campylobacter control.

"Since the use of antibiotics in the poultry industry contributes to various antibiotic-resistant Campylobacters, it is very important to control them at the production level to promote public health. Moreover, under antibiotic-free production conditions, identifying effective antibiotic alternatives is critical for sustainable poultry production," said Hanseo Ko, a graduate research assistant and Ph.D. student in the University of Georgia Department of Poultry Science.

Campylobacter is the cause of one of the leading foodborne illnesses worldwide and is responsible for 1.5 million illnesses in the U.S. each year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates.

The bacteria can be difficult to treat, and many strains have become multi-drug resistant, concluded a recent report. Approximately four out of every five instances of Campylobacter in people results from handling and eating contaminated chicken meat.

Phytogenics as a preventative method

The research project tested the effectiveness of phytogenics, a group of natural growth promoters, to prevent Campylobacter in poultry.

Most phytogenics are given as feed additives, however "the application of phytogenics as water supplements allows producers to easily use them for the following purposes, including growth promotion, preventative and therapeutic purposes, depending on the situation," Ko explained.

Male broilers given a phytogenic blend that included pomegranate, cinnamon and mint extract in their drinking water showed reduced Campylobacter loads in their ceca, liver and gut. In addition, the broilers showed improvements to their feed conversation ratio (FCR).

"Our future research will investigate the impact of phytogenic water supplements from production to processing for controlling pathogens and elucidate a mode of action in broilers," added Ko.

This research was initially presented as a poster presentation at the 2023 International Poultry Science Forum (IPSF), part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) in Atlanta, Georgia.

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