April 28, 2004,
Agricultural Research Service, USDA: Proteins
from harmless microorganisms can reduce Campylobacter
and other pathogenic bacteria in poultry intestines,
a team of Agricultural Research Service and Russian
scientists has discovered.
ARS microbiologist Norman J. Stern of the Poultry Microbiological
Safety Research Unit in Athens, Ga., used the proteins,
called bacteriocins, to reduce Campylobacter numbers
in bird intestines by 99.999 percent in small research
trials. Large research trials will be necessary to determine
if the technology is commercially feasible.
According to Stern, this is the first treatment used
in the last 25 years to achieve a significant reduction
of Campylobacter in research trials on chickens.
The bacteriocins reduce the numbers of Campylobacter
by a millionfold when fed to chickens. Bacteriocins
could provide an effective alternative to antibiotics
the poultry industry uses to control pathogenic bacteria.
Foodborne bacterial infections are responsible for
billions of dollars of economic losses in the United
States and worldwide. The Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) notes that Campylobacter is one
of the most common bacterial causes of diarrheal illness
in humans in the United States. CDC has identified poultry
as the primary vehicle for its transmission to humans.
Controlling Campylobacter in poultry would reduce public
exposure to the bacteria.
Preliminary data indicate bacteriocins may be effective
in reducing other foodborne bacteria such as Salmonella
and Escherichia coli. The patented technology to utilize
the bacteriocins is available for licensing for commercial