Investigation of Campylobacter colonization in three Australian commercial free-range broiler farms

Pongthorn Pumtang-on, Timothy J. Mahony, Rodney Hill, Anthony Pavic, Thiru Vanniasinkam

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Campylobacter spp. contaminated poultry products are strongly associated with foodborne illnesses worldwide. Development of effective management strategies to reduce contamination by Campylobacter spp. requires an improved understanding of the numerous factors that drive these contamination processes. Currently, chicken farms are using more free-range chicken meat production systems in response to consumer preferences. However, Campylobacter spp. colonization has rarely been investigated on free-range broiler farms. The present study investigated the temporal and environmental factors influencing Campylobacter spp. colonization of free-range broilers as well as potential sources and genetic diversity of Campylobacter jejuni (C. jejuni) and Campylobacter coli (C. coli) in commercial free-range broiler farms. Genetic linkages among the isolates were analyzed using flaA amplicon analysis. Campylobacter coli was first detected in fecal samples of a commercial free-range broiler flock on day 10 of rearing. Multiple genotypes of C. jejuni and C. coli were identified in this study. The farm environment was identified as a potential source of C. jejuni and C. coli colonization of free-range broilers. The dominant Campylobacter genotype varied between free-range broiler farms over time, with C. jejuni being the most frequently isolated species. These findings enhance the understanding of C. jejuni and C. coli colonization in free-range broiler farms and could inform the development of more effective intervention strategies to help control this important foodborne pathogen.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100891
Number of pages12
JournalPoultry Science
Issue number3
Early online date10 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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