Because of recent interest in bacteriophage therapy in poultry, information regarding the interaction of bacteriophages and potential host bacteria in the environment should be collected. The present studies were initiated with a rather typical commercial broiler integrator within the south-central United States to examine environmental Salmonella levels in two broiler complexes, attempt to isolate Salmonella-lytic bacteriophages, and elucidate a possible reason for differing apparent Salmonella prevalence. Significantly (P < 0.05) less Salmonella was isolated from houses in complex 1 (15/44 [34%] Salmonella-positive drag swabs) as compared to houses in complex 2 (22/24 [92%]). A total of seven Salmonella-lytic bacteriophages were isolated from Salmonella-positive environments, and two bacteriophages were isolated from a single Salmonella-negative house. During the initial bacteriophage isolation, individual bacteriophages did not replicate in the Salmonella host isolated from the same environment, and lysis of additional Salmonella hosts relied on high numbers of bacteriophage to be present. This suggests that the presence of these bacteriophages in the environment of a commercial broiler house had little to no effect on the presence of Salmonella. This study highlights the need to find additional bacteriophage sources, more effective isolation methods, and more innovative approaches to using bacteriophages to treat enteric disease.
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Vol. 52 • No. 1