Bacteria may keep chicken free from salmonella

Published Mar 6, 2013 at 04:00AM

RALEIGH, N.C. — A team of scientists is working to achieve a salmonella-free line of poultry by manipulating bacteria that live in the intestines of chickens.

Researchers will try to identify microscopic elements in the bird’s intestines that might fend off salmonella and then encourage those “good” bacteria to flourish, according to Matthew Koci, associate professor in the Department of Poultry Science at North Carolina State University.

“We will be looking to see if there are bugs in the chickens’ gut that can exclude salmonella, and therefore lower the risk they will carry a food-borne disease,” Koci said.

The attempt to create a salmonella-free chicken stems from research in microbiomes, the set of bacteria, viruses and fungi that populate the intestines of animals, including humans.

Microbiomes can influence a wide range of health factors, from disease resistance to digestion.