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Comparative Study
. 2010 Feb 28;137(2-3):259-64.
doi: 10.1016/j.ijfoodmicro.2009.12.021. Epub 2010 Jan 4.

Comparison of Campylobacter Populations Isolated From a Free-Range Broiler Flock Before and After Slaughter

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Comparative Study

Comparison of Campylobacter Populations Isolated From a Free-Range Broiler Flock Before and After Slaughter

Frances M Colles et al. Int J Food Microbiol. .
Free PMC article


Relatively little is known about the Campylobacter genotypes colonizing extensively reared broiler flocks and their survival through the slaughter process, despite the increasing demand for free-range and organic products by the consumer. Campylobacter isolates from a free-range boiler flock, sampled before and after slaughter, were genotyped by MLST (multilocus sequence typing) and sequence analysis of the flaA short variable region (SVR). The Campylobacter genotypes isolated before and after slaughter were diverse, with up to five sequence types (STs) (seven-locus allelic profiles resulting from MLST) identified per live bird, up to eight STs identified per carcass and 31 STs identified in all. The majority (72.0%) of isolates sampled from carcasses post-slaughter were indistinguishable from those isolated from the live flock before slaughter by ST and flaA SVR type, however, sampling 'on-farm' failed to capture all of the diversity seen post-slaughter. There were statistically significant increases in the genetic diversity of Campylobacter (p=0.005) and the proportion of C. coli (p=0.002), with some evidence for differential survival of genotypes contaminating the end product. C. coli genotypes isolated after slaughter were more similar to those from free-range and organic meat products sampled nationally, than from the live flock sampled previously. This study demonstrated the utility of MLST in detecting genetic diversity before and after the slaughter process.


Fig. 1
Fig. 1. The proportion of 25 live chickens colonized before slaughter and 25 carcasses contaminated after slaughter by Campylobacter STs.
Key: *C. coli.
Fig. 2
Fig. 2. The predicted ancestry of Campylobacter isolated from the free-range flock after slaughter, given the populations isolated from the live flock before slaughter (white) and from a national survey of retail poultry meat (black).
The analysis was performed using Structure and allelic profile data.

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