Projects / Programmes source: ARRS

Control of contamination of poultry meat with campylobacters in slaughterhouse

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
4.04.00  Biotechnical sciences  Veterinarian medicine   

Code Science Field
B230  Biomedical sciences  Microbiology, bacteriology, virology, mycology 

Code Science Field
4.03  Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences  Veterinary science 
food safety, campylobacter, poultry
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (32)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publications
1.  28448  PhD Jana Avberšek  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2019  106 
2.  33139  PhD Petra Bandelj  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2017 - 2019  50 
3.  07674  PhD Darja Barlič Maganja  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2016 - 2019  419 
4.  35374  PhD Katja Bezek  Microbiology and immunology  Researcher  2016 - 2019  76 
5.  15199  PhD Majda Biasizzo  Veterinarian medicine  Technician  2016 - 2019  123 
6.  18332  PhD Neža Čadež  Biotechnology  Researcher  2016 - 2019  303 
7.  24624  Polonca Enci  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2017 
8.  14429  PhD Roman Glaser  Veterinarian medicine    2016 - 2019  103 
9.  30378  PhD Majda Golob  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2019  173 
10.  14880  PhD Igor Gruntar  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2019  107 
11.  28275  PhD Urška Henigman  Veterinarian medicine  Technician  2016 - 2019  81 
12.  25841  PhD Urška Jamnikar Ciglenečki  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2019  113 
13.  39657  Maja Kavalič    Technician  2016 - 2019 
14.  18888  PhD Andrej Kirbiš  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2019  210 
15.  22491  PhD Anja Klančnik  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  304 
16.  24296  PhD Darja Kušar  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2019  177 
17.  29717  PhD Sabina Ličen  Public health (occupational safety)  Researcher  2016  251 
18.  11879  PhD Jasna Mičunovič  Veterinarian medicine  Technician  2016 - 2019  84 
19.  24630  MSc Vida Nahberger Marčič  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019 
20.  11133  PhD Matjaž Ocepek  Veterinarian medicine  Principal Researcher  2016 - 2019  460 
21.  12681  PhD Bojan Pahor  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2016 - 2019  146 
22.  24612  PhD Mateja Pate  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2019  273 
23.  16213  PhD Štefan Pintarič  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  254 
24.  24598  PhD Tina Pirš  Veterinarian medicine  Technician  2018 - 2019  82 
25.  31629  PhD Patrik Pucer  Computer science and informatics  Researcher  2016  78 
26.  07030  PhD Sonja Smole - Možina  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019  1,046 
27.  38987  PhD Katarina Šimunović  Biotechnology  Researcher  2016 - 2019  84 
28.  51228  Mateja Šuštar    Technician  2018 - 2019  16 
29.  12645  PhD Stanka Vadnjal  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2019  172 
30.  24641  Milena Valant-Majcen  Animal production  Researcher  2016 - 2019 
31.  33447  Urška Zajc  Veterinarian medicine  Technician  2016 - 2019  72 
32.  12682  PhD Irena Zdovc  Veterinarian medicine  Researcher  2016 - 2019  452 
Organisations (4)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publications
1.  0406  University of Ljubljana, Veterinary Faculty  Ljubljana  1627139  9,696 
2.  0481  University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty  Ljubljana  1626914  64,297 
3.  2106  PERUTNINA PTUJ reja perutnine, proizvodnja krmil, perutninskega mesa in izdelkov, trgovina in storitve d.o.o. (Slovene)  Ptuj  5141966  53 
4.  2413  Universita del Litorale, Facolta di Scienze della Salute  Izola  1810014005  8,920 
Intestinal campylobacteriosis is the predominant bacterial zoonosis in humans in Europe and in other industrialized coutries. Costs related to campylobacteriosis are estimated at ~2.4 billion €. The main cause of acute gastroenteritis is C. jejuni, commensal inhabitant of the intestinal microbiota of industrial poultry. The main source of human infection is poultry meat, contaminated with faeces during slaughtering, in combination with improper thermal processing and/or cross-contamination. In Slovenia, thermotolerant campylobacters have been found in 70-80% of investigated broiler flocks. The official contamination rate of broiler carcasses at the end of slaughtering is similar. In the scope of previously conducted research, we have demonstrated that the majority of contamination occurs before the entrance to the evisceration room, that is during stunning, scalding and plucking, and that the carcass contamination rate increases with the number of consecutive slaughter batches. Consequently, we presume that it is possible to reduce contamination with campylobacters in this part of the slaughtering process and thus contribute to the safety of the final product. Even though campylobacters are highly sensitive to environmental conditions, they harbour special mechanisms of resistance and survival, including the adhesivity and biofilm forming ability, which contribute to persistence, survival and infection transmission. A link has been suggested between epidemiological molecular-genetic background, the ability to survive outside the intestines and different mechanisms of resistance, including adhesivity and biofilm forming ability.  Goals: 1) To study the dynamics of faecal carcass contamination at the pre-evisceration stage of the slaughtering process, namely with different combinations of Campylobacter-positive and negative slaughter batches and with different parameters of the slaughtering regime. Also, the contamination potential of individual isolates according to their genotype will be compared and the possible persistence determined. 2) To determine the reason(s) and critical points for the increasing Campylobacter-contamination of carcasses with successive Campylobacter-positive slaughter batches. 3) To compare the isolates from different critical contamination points with the strains that persist on the equipment of slaughter line and determine their ability to survive in the slaughterhouse conditions. The ability for adhesion and formation of biofilms in addition to their resistance against biotic and abiotic factors will be analyzed, in conventional and alternative decontamination procedures. A possible connection of these characteristics with different Campylobacter genotypes will also be determined. 4) To study and evaluate the possibility or effects of the employment of alternative technological procedures for decontamination of carcasses on the slaughter line, with the use of neutral electrolyzing oxidative water (NEOW) at the selected points or phases of the slaughtering process. 5) To use digital PCR as one of the most contemporary molecular methods for identification and easier absolute quantification of campylobacters. Comparison with conventional C. jejuni colony-counting will assess the applicability of both methods for the quantification of campylobacters in complex samples from the slaughterhouse environment. 6) To implement the next-generation sequencing (NGS) for typing of Campylobacter sp. The analysis of the whole genome or various genomic parts (like MLST segments) will be introduced for the selected strains, which will be typed by using the sequence data. NGS will be employed for the analysis of microbial communities that are present on the slaughter 7) According to the obtained findings, improvements of the slaughtering process and implementation of adequate correction hygienic or technological measures for the reduction of faecal carcass contamination will be suggested.
Significance for science
In the scope of the proposed project, we will develop new tools to analyse the presence and characteristics of campylobacters. In addition, we plan to develop new methodological solutions from the viewpoint of technology and analytics. Introduced tools and solutions will be useful in different research areas, not exclusively for studying campylobacters in poultry. Research partners of the proposed project (University of Ljubljana, University of Primorska, Perutnina Ptuj) will find advantages of this cooperation especially in spreading and deepening our knowledge and acquiring valuable experience in the field of method development and acquiring knowledge in poultry production chain. New experiences and knowledge will form a solid base for new scientific achievements at the national and European level. Collaborating partners (institutions of knowledge) aim to increase the extent of applicable studies, to ensure long-term financing from the companies and to get ready to competitively apply for European and other international project grants. Basic and original scientific contributions obtained in the scope of the project will be presented to the national and international professional and scientific public circles. The project group plans to publish at least three scientific papers in the journals with high impact factors. It should be noted that the project topic is in complete concordance with the priorities of the national research programme of the Republic of Slovenia – perspective fields for Slovenia are defined as those which enable deepening of knowledge, scientific propulsion and economic efficacy. The research study is also in concordance with the priorities of the 3rd column of Slovenian technological platform Food for life. In addition, H2020 programme also includes health which is tightly linked to food. By introducing new methodology we see a potential for cooperation in the project consortium which will study health and food. The results of the project will represent globally an important contribution to the knowledge on critical points for campylobacter transmission in the food chain. Introduction of the most contemporary molecular tools, dPCR and NGS, into diagnostics of C. jejuni will represent an important step at the national and international level. Currently, the publications about C. jejuni in poultry, which include the latest diagnostic methods, are scarce. The NGS could provide additional information about the genetic types of campylobacters, which would allow us to critically evaluate the already established genotyping methods. New knowledge will be directly incorporated into teaching and research work of students of veterinary medicine, food technology, microbiology, biotechnology and other related sciences.
Significance for the country
Poultry meat market has been growing continuously in recent years due to increasing consumer demand. Poultry meat is competitively priced, simple and quick to prepare and healthier than beef and pork because of lower saturated fatty acids content. Poultry meat production in Slovenia is export-oriented, with an export increasing from year to year (2002: 7,000 tons; 2011: 22,000 tons) and still growing. Perutnina Ptuj d.d. as an international group of companies has become the most important producer of poultry meat and meat products in the middle and southeastern Europe. The company follows the highest standards of quality, safety and ecology and welcomes changes and constants improvement of services and products. Knowledge on critical points for contamination of chicken carcasses is prerequisite for decreasing contamination of food of poultry origin. Reduction in Campylobacter contamination of poultry meat would represent a significant advantage in global competition in the supply of poultry products. By decreasing the poultry meat contamination rate, the safety of food of poultry origin would increase and the risk for human infection would be lower. On the basis of findings obtained in the scope of proposed project, we will be able to prepare operating procedures to prevent contamination at slaughtering. The results will be applicable not only for the collaborating industrial partner but for the entire Slovenian poultry industry. During the project, different new methods of detection, characterization and genotyping will be implemented and will raise the quality of work at the partner institutions.
Most important scientific results Interim report, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Interim report, final report
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