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By Fred Miller email@example.com U of A System Division of AgricultureDec. 14, 2017
(409 words)(Newsrooms: With additional art available at https://flic.kr/s/aHsm3oXVec)(Download this story in MS Word format here.)
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Advanced genetic sequencing techniques are imparting better understanding
of the bacterial communities residing in animal gastro-intestinal tracts, said Steven
Ricke, director of the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s Center
for Food Safety.
Ricke told a gathering of food scientists in Seoul, South Korea, that the new knowledge
coming out of his research could lead to a new model for improved food safety in the
Ricke, who is also professor of food science and holder of the Donald Buddy Wray Chair
in Food Safety, was the invited plenary speaker at the Korean Food Safety Conference
in November. In his talk, “Salmonella Vaccines and the Microbiome in Poultry: A New Food Safety Paradigm,” Ricke described
how a more complete understanding of microbial communities in poultry could lead to
improved prevention of Salmonella contamination in chicken meat.
“Salmonella remains a persistent foodborne pathogen that occurs as a contaminant in poultry and
meat production systems,” Ricke said.
Many control measures have been used during processing to limit contamination on poultry
carcasses, he said. New measures are being examined to limit foodborne Salmonella colonization in live bird production.
Efforts to control the pathogen in poultry flocks includes bacteriophage feed additives
that eliminate already colonized Salmonella in the birds. Bacteriophages are viruses that are harmless to chickens and to humans,
but that destroy targeted bacterial pathogens by disrupting their reproductive mechanisms.
Other products added to poultry feed include probiotics and prebiotics, which prevent
Salmonella from colonizing by occupying “real estate” in the guts, thereby crowding out the
pathogen before it can establish a population.
Salmonella vaccines inhibit establishment of Salmonella, Ricke said, by stimulating the immune system of the bird to more rapidly recognize
invading Salmonella and mount a specific immune response that limits its ability to remain in the bird.
Ricke leads a team of researchers that uses next generation genetic sequencing to
identify microbial communities, or microbiomes, that exist in animal GI tracts, especially
those of chickens. These are complex populations of microorganisms — some good, some
bad, some indifferent — that share space in the gut. He wants to know what’s in there,
what they’re doing and how they interact.
What they’re learning, Ricke said, is that there may be a more complex interaction
between Salmonella, the intestinal tract and the indigenous microbial community that inhabits that space.
Throwing light on those interrelationships, Ricke said, could advance a new approach
to constructing more effective strains of Salmonella vaccine.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen
agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption
of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative
Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work
within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas
System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension
and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex,
gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital
or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and
is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
# # #
Media Contact: Mary HightowerDir. of Communication ServicesU of A System Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service(501) firstname.lastname@example.org