Campylobacter jejuni and casein hydrolysate addition: Impact on poultry in vitro cecal microbiota and metabolome

PLoS One. 2024 May 24;19(5):e0303856. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0303856. eCollection 2024.


This study investigates the impact of casein hydrolysates on the poultry ceca inoculated with Campylobacter focusing on microbial molecular preferences for different protein sources in the presence of Campylobacter jejuni. Three casein sources (intact casein (IN), casein enzyme hydrolysate (EH), and casein acid hydrolysate (AH)) were introduced to cecal contents in combination with inoculated C. jejuni in an in vitro model system incubated for 48 h at 42°C under microaerophilic conditions. Samples were collected at 0, 24, and 48 h. Genomic DNA was extracted and amplified using custom dual-indexed primers, followed by sequencing on an Illumina MiSeq platform. The obtained sequencing data were then analyzed via QIIME2-2021.11. Metabolite extracts were analyzed with ultra-high-performance liquid orbitrap chromatography-mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS). Statistical analysis of metabolites was conducted using MetaboAnalyst 5.0, while functional analysis was performed using Mummichog 2.0 with a significance threshold set at P < 0.00001. DNA sequencing and metabolomic analyses revealed that C. jejuni was most abundant in the EH group. Microbial diversity and richness improved in casein supplemented groups, with core microbial differences observed, compared to non-supplemented groups. Vitamin B-associated metabolites significantly increased in the supplemented groups, displaying distinct patterns in vitamin B6 and B9 metabolism between EH and AH groups (P < 0.05). Faecalibacterium and Phascolarctobacterium were associated with AH and EH groups, respectively. These findings suggest microbial interactions in the presence of C. jejuni and casein supplementation are influenced by microbial community preferences for casein hydrolysates impacting B vitamin production and shaping competitive dynamics within the cecal microbial community. These findings underscore the potential of nutritional interventions to modulate the poultry GIT microbiota for improved health outcomes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Campylobacter jejuni* / drug effects
  • Campylobacter jejuni* / metabolism
  • Caseins* / metabolism
  • Cecum* / drug effects
  • Cecum* / metabolism
  • Cecum* / microbiology
  • Chickens / microbiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Metabolome* / drug effects
  • Poultry / microbiology


  • Caseins
  • casein hydrolysate

Grants and funding

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Hatch Grant [MSN248836].