April 26, 2021


USPOULTRY Foundation approves grant addressing Clostridial dermatitis in poultry



The USPOULTRY Foundation has approved approximately US$120,000 in funding for a new research grant addressing Clostridial dermatitis in poultry through the Board Research Initiative programme.


The topic and request for proposals were selected by the USPOULTRY Foundation board of directors. The Foundation Research Advisory Committee evaluated several research proposals before recommending projects to fund to the board.


The research grant will support the development of a probiotic-based recombinant oral vectored-vaccine against Clostridial dermatitis in turkeys. The research will be conducted by the North Carolina State University backed by the grant made possible in part by an endowing foundation gift from Prestage Farms.


Clostridial dermatitis (CD), caused predominantly by Clostridium septicum, is an economically important emerging disease of turkeys characterised by necrotic dermatitis and sudden death. Control strategies, such as improved management, feeding probiotics and others, have been tried with variable success.


The project will develop a vaccine that may be effective in immunising turkeys against Clostridial dermatitis. In addition to inducing CD immunity in birds, this vaccine will possess probiotic properties to competitively exclude intestinal colonisation by pathogenic Clostridia, thus enhancing overall gut health in poultry and yielding value-added means for poultry producers to grow poultry without relying on the use of on-farm antibiotics for CD control.


"The innovative nature of this study builds upon our current understanding of the important role played by probiotics in promoting gut health in poultry, when used as beneficial microbial supplements. Thus, the novel experimental approach will comprise of using certain well-characterised probiotic bacterial strains to clone and express C. septicum protective antigen(s) to develop an effective and viable vaccine against CD in turkeys," said principal investigator Dr. Ravi Kulkarni of the Department of Population Health and Pathobiology, College of Veterinary Medicine at North Carolina State University.


USPOULTRY director of research Dr. Denise Heard said: "The disease pathogenesis of CD is poorly understood, mainly because of its complexity and multifactorial characteristics. The development of an effective oral probiotic-based CD vaccine will be of value to both the turkey and broiler sectors."


"The USPOULTRY Foundation is pleased to support this project. Clostridial dermatitis is an important disease of both turkeys and broilers that often requires antibiotics to treat. With reduced use of antibiotics in the industry, it is important that we find alternative methods to protect our flocks," said John Prestage, USPOULTRY Foundation's chairman.



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