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Int J Food Microbiol. 2010 Jul 31;141 Suppl 1:S98-108. doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2010.03.039. Epub 2010 Apr 8.

Characterization of probiotic strains: an application as feed additives in poultry against Campylobacter jejuni.

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Department of Agroenvironmental Sciences and Technologies, University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy.


Campylobacteriosis is at present the most frequent zoonosis in humans and the main source is poultry meat contaminated by Campylobacter jejuni. An alternative and effective approach to antibiotic administration to livestock to reduce bacterial contamination is the use of probiotics, which can help to improve the natural defence of animals against pathogenic bacteria. In this study 55 lactic acid bacteria and bifidobacteria were screened for desirable properties for their application as probiotics against Campylobacter in poultry. All bacteria were examined for their antimicrobial activity against three C. jejuni strains. Strains exhibiting the highest anti-Campylobacter activity were examined for their survival in the gastro intestinal tract (low pH and presence of bile salts) and food/feed processing conditions (high temperature, high NaCl concentration and starvation) and basic safety aspects such as antibiotic susceptibility and hemolytic activity were studied. On the basis of these activities, two strains, namely Lactobacillus plantarum PCS 20 and Bifidobacterium longum PCB 133, were chosen for an in vivo trial in poultry. They were separately administered to healthy chickens in order to evaluate their capability of colonizing the GI tract of poultry and to estimate their effect on C. jejuni population. The results evidenced that L. plantarum PCS 20 was not present in poultry feces at detectable concentration, whereas B. longum PCB 133 significantly increased after two weeks of daily administration and its amount was still high after a wash-out period of 6 days. In the same period, C. jejuni concentration in poultry feces was significantly reduced in chickens administered with B. longum PCB 133. Therefore, B. longum PCB 133, possessing interesting probiotic properties and a marked anti-Campylobacter activity both in vitro and in vivo, is an excellent candidate for being employed as additives to feed for poultry for the reduction of food-borne campylobacteriosis in humans.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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