+49 30 838 62550
Background and objectives: Arcobacter spp. is regularly detected in chicken meat. The intestinal content of the chickens is assumed as the source of contamination during the slaughtering process. However, data on the occurrence and quantitative load of Arcobacter spp. along the complete intestinal tract of chicken are still scarce. Therefore, we examined the intestinal content of the duodenum, jejunum, caeca and colon of broiler chickens individually to test for the presence and the concentration of Arcobacter spp.
Materials and methods: Intestinal tracts of 25 broiler chickens from 5 different flocks were collected and intestinal content of the duodenum, jejunum, caeca and colon was extracted. Of each sample, 1 g was examined for the presence and quantitative load of Arcobacter spp. by selective enrichment. Suspected Arcobacter colonies were verified by mPCR and rpoB sequencing.
Results: In 44% (11/25) of the duodenal, 64% (16/25) of the jejunal, 8% (2/25) of the caecal and 92% (23/25) of the colonic samples A. butzleri were detected. The highest Arcobacter load was determined in the colonic content (23 MPN/g), followed by duodenum and jejunum (0.023 – 0.23 MPN/g), respectively.
Conclusion: Our data support the hypothesis that the intestinal tract has to be considered a source of entry for Arcobacter spp. into the poultry slaughterhouse, thereby enabling contamination and cross-contamination of the chicken meat. In contrast to Campylobacter, the highest numbers of Arcobacter spp. were detected in the colon, whilst the caeca showed the lowest Arcobacter concentration. We were also able to detect Arcobacter spp. in the small intestine, however, with lower bacterial numbers compared to colon. Therefore we recommend to use colonic content when testing for the presence of Arcobacter spp. in chicken at slaughter.