Effect of Organic Acids in Drinking Water for Young Broilers on Campylobacter Infection, Volatile Fatty Acid Production, Gut Microflora and Histological Cell Changes

Poult Sci. 2004 Mar;83(3):330-4. doi: 10.1093/ps/83.3.330.


Water is a prominent vehicle for Campylobacter spread throughout a chicken flock. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of organic acids administered through the drinking water, as a decontamination method, on gut microflora and the development of lesions in the gastrointestinal tracts of young broilers inoculated with 2 different doses of Campylobacter. The results revealed that most of the chickens were infected with Campylobacter at the end of the experiment. The drinking water was free of Campylobacter throughout the study. No difference of volatile fatty acid levels between treatment and control groups was observed in the crop and cecal contents. In the cecal contents, the total aerobic bacteria numbers were significantly higher in the treatment groups compared with the control groups (P < 0.01 and P < 0.04, respectively). Moreover, no damaged epithelial cells were observed in the chicken gut due to consumption of acidified drinking water. Acidified drinking water could therefore play a crucial role in a biosecurity strategy of preventing Campylobacter spread via drinking water in broiler flocks.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Campylobacter Infections / microbiology
  • Campylobacter Infections / veterinary*
  • Cecum / chemistry
  • Cecum / cytology
  • Chickens*
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Crop, Avian / chemistry
  • Crop, Avian / cytology
  • Digestive System / cytology*
  • Digestive System / microbiology*
  • Epithelial Cells / cytology
  • Esophagus / cytology
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / analysis
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / biosynthesis*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Intestine, Small / cytology
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Water