Campylobacter jejuni cells entered the viable but nonculturable (VBNC) state upon suspension in sterile water. Cell viability was determined with tetrazolium violet. VBNC cells suspended in water for 7, 10, or 14 days were given, by gavage, to day-of-hatch leghorn chickens. The ceca of control and challenged birds were examined for the presence of campylobacteria by conventional microbiological methods at 1 wk and 2 wk after challenge inoculation and by polymerase chain reaction methods at 1 wk after challenge. We did not find culturable Campylobacter cells in the ceca. Neither was Campylobacter DNA found in cecal samples. Therefore, VBNC cells did not revert to the culturable colonizing form, nor did VBNC cells persist within the cecal environment.
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Vol. 47 • No. 3