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News 612 views update:Dec 1, 2008

Natural poultry feed ingredient fights campylobacter

Poultry meat is less likely to be contaminated with Campylobacter if the birds are fed natural feed ingredients, scientists report.

According to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, there are approx. 76 mln cases of food poisoning in the US every year.

"Foodborne pathogens are very prevalent in a lot of our domestic animals, especially in poultry," said Dan Donoghue of the University of Arkansas in the American Chemical Society's Global Challenges podcast, adding that the 2 mot prevalent bacterial contaminants of poultry are Salmonella and Campylobacter.

Natural feed ingredient caprylic acid

Donoghue thought that changing the bird's diet may make a difference and see what effect this would have on the Campylobcter counts. According to results (published in the July issue of the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology), it did. Birds were fed natural feed ingredients, specifically a compound called caprylic acid.

"It’s a medium-chain fatty acid, it's found in cow's milk, and in coconut milk, and it has antibacterial activity," Donoghue said. "We found that when you add it to the diet of poultry, it seems to consistently inhibit or reduce Campylobacter colonisation of poultry."

Donoghue and his colleagues will publish further research on the antibacterial feed in an upcoming issue of the journal Poultry Science.

Source: Live Science

Natalie Berkhout

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