SUMMARY. Salmonella in birds is a concern because of the human foodborne illness associated with the consumption of poultry meat and eggs. One of the methods of transmission of Salmonella within a flock can be by the air. Therefore, we used reduction of transmission of Salmonella to monitor the effectiveness of the electrostatic space charge system (ESCS). During the average broiler breeder laying cycle of 40 wk, a large amount of dust becomes airborne and accumulates on walls, ceiling, and equipment. Many microorganisms adhere to these dust particles, making dust an excellent vector for horizontal disease transmission between birds. We used two environmentally controlled rooms containing commercial broiler breeders to evaluate the effectiveness of an ESCS that produced a strong negative electrostatic charge to reduce airborne dust and, subsequently, microorganism levels. The ESCS caused the dust to become negatively charged, therefore moving to the grounded floor in the treatment room.
The use of the ESCS resulted in a significant reduction (P < 0.0001, 61% reduction) in airborne dust concentration levels, which resulted in a significant reduction (P < 0.0001, 76% reduction) in total airborne bacteria and gram-negative bacteria (48% reduction) in the treatment room. Significant reductions (P < 0.05) of gram-negative bacteria (63% reduction) on the egg collection belts were also recorded in the treatment room, which resulted in a significant reduction (P < 0.0001) of gram-negative bacteria (28% reduction) on the eggshell surface. The ESCS treatment resulted in fewer Salmonella enteritidis–positive hens and their progeny from the treatment room due to reductions of dust and airborne bacteria. In addition, this significant reduction in bacteria on the eggshell surface should result in less bacteria in the day-old chicks, therefore better early chick livability. There was no significant difference (P > 0.05) in egg production, male or female body weights, mortality, or reproductive performance in the ESCS room compared with the control room.