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Foodborne Pathog Dis. 2012 Oct;9(10):945-51. doi: 10.1089/fpd.2012.1251. Epub 2012 Sep 6.

Effects of dietary alfalfa inclusion on Salmonella typhimurium populations in growing layer chicks.

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Agris Mundus-Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Montpellier SupAgro, Ministere de l'Agriculture, Montpellier, France.


Reducing Salmonella in poultry has been a paramount goal of the poultry industry in order to improve food safety. Inclusion of high-fiber fermentable feedstuffs in chicken diets has been shown to reduce the incidence of Salmonella colonization in laying hens, but no work has been performed in growing birds. Therefore, the present study was designed to quantify differences in artificially inoculated cecal Salmonella Typhimurium populations in growing layer chicks (n = 60 in each of two replications) fed 0%, 25%, and 50% of their diet (w/w) replaced with alfalfa meal from day (d) 7 to d14 after hatch. Alfalfa supplementation reduced cecal populations of Salmonella by 0.95 and 1.25 log10 colony-forming unit per gram in the 25% and 50% alfalfa groups compared to controls. Alfalfa feeding reduced (p < 0.05) the number of cecal- and crop-positive birds compared to controls. Increasing levels of alfalfa increased (p < 0.05) total volatile fatty acids (VFA) and the proportion of acetate in the cecum. Surprisingly, alfalfa inclusion did not negatively impact average daily gain (ADG) in birds over the 7-d feeding period. Alfalfa inclusion at 50% of the diet increased (p < 0.05) the number of bacterial genera detected in the cecum compared to controls, and also altered proportions of the microbial population by reducing Ruminococcus and increasing Clostridia populations. Results support the idea that providing a fermentable substrate can increase gastrointestinal VFA production and bacterial diversity which in turn can reduce colonization by Salmonella via natural competitive barriers. However, further studies are obviously needed to more fully understand the impact of changes made in diet or management procedures on poultry production.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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