Bacterial vaccine could reduce broiler lameness

University of Arkansas researchers are developing a vaccine that includes multiple bacterial species to reduce the incidence of bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO), a costly leg lameness in broilers.

Doughman Headshot3 Headshot
(Andrea Gantz)
(Andrea Gantz)

University of Arkansas researchers are developing a vaccine that includes multiple bacterial species to reduce the incidence of bacterial chondronecrosis with osteomyelitis (BCO), a costly leg lameness in broilers.

BCO occurs when damage to the poultry gut results in bacteria traveling through the gut barrier into the leg bones of a chicken, causing lesions and lameness. The lameness is a top economic and animal welfare issue for the poultry industry, resulting in losses of $80-$100 million in the U.S. annually due to bird condemnation.

“It’s a major concern for the industry because it’s a disease that happens at the later stages of development. This means that you’re raising these birds to a marketing age and then they become lame and must be condemned” explained Adnan Alrubaye, assistant professor and associate director of the graduate program in cell and molecular biology, conducts research for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture through its research arm, the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.

About the project

The project, funded by an $80,000 grant from the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association (USPOULTRY), will focus on the development of a vaccine that could significantly reduce the incidence of BCO lameness in broiler chickens.

“BCO is not a disease that’s caused by one microorganism,” he said. Instead, “many bacterial species cause the lameness.”

Because of this fact, “we’ve been trying to develop a multi-species vaccine that can give us much wider protection,” he added.

It will first investigate the pathogenesis behind BCO. By understanding how and when the bacteria transfer between the gastrointestinal (GI) tract and the bloodstream is an essential component in finding a better way to prevent the lameness.

“The other part is trying to develop some mitigation or prevention measures to help reduce lameness in the poultry industry,” Alrubaye said.

Alrubaye is currently looking for industry partners within the poultry industry to collaborate on BCO research. 

Page 1 of 181
Next Page