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

Solis de los Santos, Fausto, Hume, Michael, Venkitanarayanan, Kumar, Donoghue, Ann M., Hanning, Irene, Slavik, Michael, Aguiar, Vivian F., Metcalf, Joel H., Reyes-Herrera, Ixchel, Blore, Pamela J., Donoghue, Dan J.
Journal of food protection 2010 v.73 no.2 pp. 251
Campylobacter jejuni, antibacterial properties, bacterial colonization, broiler chickens, broiler feeding, campylobacteriosis, cecum, chicks, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, feed deprivation, feed supplements, intestinal microorganisms, octanoic acid, slaughter
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.