Prevention is Better than Cure: Reducing Salmonella Challenges in Broilers

One of the most common foodborne infections are enteric diseases caused by Salmonella bacteria, and the most common source of infection with these specific bacteria are meat and eggs derived from poultry. In fact, Salmonella is an enduring problem in the poultry industry and the complete eradication of Salmonella spp. from production facilities is a hard task to achieve because of the many various bacterial transmission routes. (Watch the video: The Current Challenge for Salmonella Control in the Global Poultry Industry).

For this reason, the industry already started looking into tools that can be applied in order to contain Salmonella problems in poultry production. In addition to proper feed and farm management, vaccination, biosecurity and hygiene, the use of feed additives such as organic acids can play an important role in reducing Salmonella challenges in poultry production.

Efficacy of organic acids

Until very recently, the use of organic acids or single chain fatty acids (SCFA) mainly focused on their efficacy outside of the gastrointestinal tract. An increasing number of studies have been published focusing on the use of SCFA as supporters of gut health and as preventive tools to avoid an uncontrolled proliferation of pathogenic bacteria. The exact mode of action of SCFA as gut performance promoters are not yet clear. However, it has been demonstrated that organic acids have a direct antimicrobial activity against pathogens such as E. coli and Salmonella, and they might contribute to gut health indirectly by improving digestibility. This ensures a proper feed digestion—meaning that less non-digested feed reaches the lower part of the intestine where it could feed opportunistic bacteria, leading to pathogen proliferation.

In order to improve the effects of the organic acids as gut health promoters, BIOMIN combines them with cinnamaldehyde and a blend of substances able to permeate the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria (Permeabilizing Complex™) in the product Biotronic® Top3. This ensures a maximized effect especially against Gram-negative pathogens. By using this product broiler feed, beneficial effects in modulating a positive microbiota could be observed both in the field and in scientific trials. Generally, the addition of Biotronic® Top3 to the diet of broilers reduces the total number of E. coli and Salmonella while creating a favorable environment for the proliferation of beneficial bacteria (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Bacterial counts (logCFU/g) of cecum microbiota in broilers at age 42.
Animals were fed a control diet without the addition of any additive (grey) or the same diet supplemented with 1 kg/T of Biotronic® Top3 (green). a,b Means with different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05)

 Figure 1: Bacterial counts (logCFU/g) of cecum microbiota in broilers at age 42.

Source: BIOMIN, 2015

Prevention against Salmonella Enteritidis gut colonization: Biotronic® Top3

In a trial performed in cooperation with the Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale della Lombardia e dell’Emilia Romagna (ISZLER – Italy), Biotronic® Top3 was evaluated as a tool to prevent gut colonization by Salmonella Enteritidis in experimentally infected broilers. The group partitioning is listed in Table 1.

Table 1: Group partitioning and diet description.

GroupTreatmentNo of animals
ControlStandard feed20
Group 1Standard feed + Biotronic® Top3 at 1.0 kg/T20
Group 2Standard feed + Biotronic® Top3 at 2.0 kg/T20

Diets were fed from day 1 to day 25

At 15 days of age all the specific pathogen free animals were eye-drop infected with 1x105 CFU Salmonella enteritidis, a field strain isolated in Italy. At 5 days post infection, 10 animals per group were sacrificed and cecum was subjected to bacteriological analysis for the recovery of Salmonella enteritidis. Results are shown in Figure 2, and clearly indicate that in both treatment groups the counts of S. enteritidis were significantly reduced on both day 5 and day 10 post infection. Converting log reduction in percentages both trial groups had between 50% and 70% lower Salmonella counts compared to the control group.

Figure 2. Salmonella Enteritidis counts (logCFU/g) in the cecal content of broilers on day 5 and 10 post infection.
Animals were fed a control diet without the addition of any additive or the same diet supplemented with 1 or 2 kg/T of Biotronic® Top3. a,b Means with different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05)

Figure 2. Salmonella Enteritidis counts (logCFU/g) in the cecal content of broilers on day 5 and 10 post infection.

Source: BIOMIN, 2013

Prevention is better than cure

The complete eradication of Salmonella from poultry production is an incredibly difficult goal. The need for the combination of proper management, biosecurity, proper vaccination protocols and together with many other aspects can help to take the first steps in the right direction. The use of feed additives like the enhanced acidifier Biotronic® Top3 can be a helpful tool to prevent disease outbreaks by ensuring a healthy gut and deliver good performance levels. Biotronic® Top3 is effective in supporting the suppression of an uncontrolled pathogen proliferation while creating favorable conditions for the establishment of a balanced gut microbiota.