March 24, 2018

Creating a Probiotic Chicken

A research team working at the Institute of Food Research in the UK has been looking into coating chicken feathers with probiotics to combat pathogenic bacteria. The research is published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

Raw whole chickenLactobacillus johnsonii is applied to the coat and feathers of the chicken. Researchers discovered this then excludes Clostridium perfringens from the chicken’s intestines. That bacteria causes necrotic enteritis in the poultry and sickens humans.

The bacteria has a “coat” made of exopolysaccharides (EPS) that help the bacteria fend off stress and aid colonization. Scientists think that the EPS coat helps it outcompete C. perfringens.

When chickens are slaughtered, bacteria in their intestines can easily contaminate the flesh. And in the U.S. and in the UK, Clostridium bacteria are the third most common cause of food poisoning. When poultry is improperly prepared, not fully cooked, or improperly held, the bacteria multiply. Then when you eat that chicken, you will get sick.

Farm trials are now starting on this process. An added bonus is that L. johnsonii is a beneficial microorganisms that can help improve human gut bacteria levels.

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