Day-old male broiler breeder chicks were obtained from a commercial hatchery and raised as broilers. For Experiment 1, at 5 wk of age, the broilers were orally inoculated with a 106cfu/ml of a characterized strain of Campylobacter jejuni and a cocktail (three naladixic acid-resistant strains) of Salmonella serovars. One week after inoculation, the birds were euthanatized and defeathered. The abdominal cavity was examined and any unabsorbed yolk material (and remaining yolk stalk) and ceca were aseptically removed for microbiological analyses. For each pooled sample (two birds per pool), an aerobic plate count (APC), an Enterobacteriaceae (ENT) count, and a test for the presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella was performed. For Experiment 2, at 5 wk of age, the broilers were orally inoculated with 105cfu/ml of a characterized strain of Campylobacter jejuni. One week after inoculation, the birds (n = 20) were killed, defeathered, and the yolk stalk, attached yolk, or free-floating yolk and ceca were individually analyzed for presence of Campylobacter. For Experiment 1, the Salmonella-inoculated birds had 2/12 ceca and 0/12 unabsorbed yolk samples positive for Salmonella. The average yolk APC was log10 3.4 cfu/g and the average ENT was log10 1.9 cfu/g. For the Campylobacter-inoculated birds, 12/12 ceca and 9/12 unabsorbed yolk samples were positive for Campylobacter. The average yolk APC was log10 3.5 cfu/g and the average ENT was log10 3.1 cfu/g. For Experiment 2, the inoculated Campylobacter birds had 19/20 ceca, 5/20 free floating yolks, and 19/20 yolk stalks positive. In Experiment 1, the inoculated Campylobacter colonized the ceca in every instance and were present in 75% of the unabsorbed yolks. Alternatively, the inoculated Salmonella were not found in any of the unabsorbed yolks and only rarely in the ceca. In Experiment 2, the inoculated Campylobacter was found in very high numbers in the yolk and internal body samples. Determining to what extent these internal bodies and unabsorbed yolks play in bacterial colonization and contamination of the birds at processing has not been determined. The next step will be to determine the incidence of unabsorbed yolks and presence of Campylobacter and Salmonella in these bodies of commercial broilers at processing.
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Vol. 50 • No. 3