Title: Selection for pro-inflammatory mediators yields chickens with increased resistance against Salmonella enterica serovar enteritidis
Authors: Swaggerty CL, Pevzner IY, Kogut MH
Journal: Poult Sci
Accepted date: 2013 Nov 24
Interpretive summary: Salmonella are a leading cause of foodborne illness and can be transmitted through consumption of contaminated poultry; therefore, increasing a bird's natural resistance to Salmonella could improve food safety. Previous studies in our laboratory have shown that the rooster is important in determining the white blood cell's function and what types of chemical mediators they produce to help fight off infections. Since the innate immune response is the main way a young chicken protects itself and fights infections, we want to try a new selection method to identify roosters based on elevated production of chemical mediators. A preliminary selection trial showed individual roosters have varying levels of chemical mediators, and selection based on high or low levels are passed onto offspring. Based on these results, we hypothesized that selection of chickens for higher levels of chemical mediators would produce offspring that are more resistant to Salmonella. The objectives of this study were to use a new selection method to identify “high” and “low” roosters within a population of chickens and then use select roosters to produce offspring. Offspring from high roosters had higher levels of the inflammatory mediators and were more resistant to Salmonella compared to offspring from low roosters. The second generations showed the same trend. We also looked at how much feed the birds ate, and both high- and low-line birds were similar and had the same percent of breast meat. These findings show selection based on higher levels of chemical mediators is a new way to produce chickens that are naturally more resistant to Salmonella, one of the most important foodborne pathogens that impact the poultry industry. Use of more resistant birds by the poultry industry would significantly improve the safety of poultry products reaching the consumer.