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J Food Prot. 2001 May;64(5):730-3.

Effects of feed withdrawal and transport on cecal environment and Campylobacter concentrations in a swine surgical model.

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  • 1Food and Feed Safety Research Unit, Agricultural Research Service, US Department of Agriculture, College Station, Texas 77845, USA.


The objective of the present study was to evaluate how feed withdrawal and transportation influenced the cecal environment and cecal populations of Campylobacter in swine. Four miniature Yucatan gilts (8.8 kg), naturally infected with Campylobacter jejuni, were surgically implanted with cecal cannulas. The gilts were fasted for 48 h. Samples of cecal contents were collected for 7 days prior to and for 7 days after the fast, and mean values were determined for pH, volatile fatty acids (VFA), and CFU enumeration of C. jejuni. This was replicated three times. In another trial, gilts (full-fed) were transported in a livestock trailer for 4 h and cecal samples were collected before and after transport and analyzed for pH, VFA, and CFU. Following a 48-h fast, cecal pH increased (P < 0.05) by 1 unit; acetic and propionic acids decreased (P < 0.05) by 61% and 71%, respectively; and there was a twofold log10 increase (P < 0.05) in CFU/g cecal content of C. jejuni. Values of pH, VFA, and CFU of C. jejuni did not change in cecal samples from gilts following transportation. These data are important for food safety considerations because feed withdrawal, commonly associated with shipping and slaughter, can increase Campylobacter concentrations in the pig intestinal tract.

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