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Poult Sci. 2002 May;81(5):715-20.

Microbial contamination in inoculated shell eggs: I. Effects of layer strain and hen age.

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Department of Poultry Science, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695, USA.


Three Ottawa control strains and a current commercial laying stock were reared and housed under identical environmental and management conditions. Eggs were collected from each strain when hens were 32, 45, 58, 71, and 84 wk of age. The eggs were inoculated with Salmonella enteritidis (SE), Pseudomonasfluorescens (PF), or a combination of the two. After storage at 26 C, bacterial counts were obtained from the exterior shell surfaces (rinse), air cell, egg contents, and shell structure. SE and PF survived at different rates on the shell surface with as much as a 1 log difference during a given collection period. Egg content counts tended to be higher than eggshell counts in PF, whereas the opposite was true for SE. These data suggest that PF is a primary invader of eggs that is more capable of contaminating egg contents through the shell membranes than SE. The PF and SE data suggest that bacterial contamination of air cells, shells, and egg contents is more easily achieved in eggs from older hens than from younger hens. There were also differences between the strains. Control Strain 10 consistently maintained a lower level of contamination for both organisms in each sampling location. The overall results of this study suggest that genetic selection has altered the ability of eggs to resist microbial contamination and that screening for microbial integrity should be considered in the selection process among the laying egg breeders.

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