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Caprylic Acid Supplemented in Feed Reduces Enteric Campylobacter jejuni Colonization in Ten-Day-Old Broiler Chickens

De Los Santos, F. Solis, Donoghue, A.M., Venkitanarayanan, K., Dirain, M.L., Reyes-Herrera, I., Blore, P.J., Donoghue, D.J.
Poultry science 2008 v.87 no.4 pp. 800
broiler chickens, broiler feeding, octanoic acid, feed supplements, antibacterial properties, intestinal microorganisms, Campylobacter jejuni, campylobacteriosis, food pathogens, pandemic, bacterial colonization, cecum, dosage, chicks, feed intake, body weight, feed conversion, United States
Campylobacter is one of the leading causes of human foodborne illness in the United States, and epidemiological evidence indicates that poultry and poultry products are a significant source of human Campylobacter infections. Reducing Campylobacter in the intestinal tract would reduce contamination of poultry products and eggs. Caprylic acid, an 8-carbon medium-chain fatty acid has been shown to be bactericidal against several pathogenic bacteria. It has, however, not been tested in the control of Campylobacter in chickens. Four trials were carried out to evaluate the efficacy of caprylic acid against cecal Campylobacter jejuni colonization in 10-d-old chicks. In the first 2 trials, day-of-hatch chicks (n = 40 per trial) were assigned to negative controls (no Campylobacter, no caprylic acid), positive controls (Campylobacter, no caprylic acid), and a low (0.7%) and a high (1.4%) dose of caprylic acid supplemented in regular chick starter feed (n = 10 chicks/treatment). Two more trials were carried out to evaluate a wider range of caprylic acid doses on cecal Campylobacter counts, in which day-of-hatch chicks (n = 90 per trial) were assigned to 9 treatments: negative controls (no Campylobacter, no caprylic acid) and caprylic acid doses of 0 (positive controls), 0.35, 0.525, 0.7, 0.875, 1.05, 1.225, and 1.4% (n = 10 chicks/treatment). Except for the negative controls, chicks were orally gavaged with approximately 1 x 10⁶ cfu Campylobacter on d 3. On d 10, cecal contents were collected and Campylobacter concentrations were determined in each trial. In all 4 trials, the 0.7% dose of caprylic acid consistently reduced Campylobacter content counts compared with the positive control. In trials 3 and 4, doses less than 1.05% consistently reduced cecal Campylobacter content in both trials. At the higher doses, caprylic acid reduced feed consumption and body weight, but did not affect feed conversion when compared with the positive controls. These data suggest that low-dose supplementation with caprylic acid in feed may reduce Campylobacter colonization in young chickens.