November 29, 2008
Dutch research finds beetle may spread pathogens to broilers
The darkling beetle and its larvae could carry salmonella and campylobacter from one broiler flock to the next, according to a research conducted by the Wageningen University and Research Centre in the Netherlands.
The darkling beetle and its larvae are known to inhabit broiler houses and are thought to survive between rearing cycles by eating their way into insulation materials and hiding under floors.
Researchers artificially contaminated several groups of beetles and their larvae with a mixture of S enteric and three C jejuni strains. These were then fed to housed broiler chicks either on the day of inoculation or one week following to imitate an empty week between rearing cycles.
All broilers chicks fed with contaminated insects showed campylobacter and salmonella colonisation levels of 50-100 percent, while insects fed a week after infection caused the transfer of both pathogens as well, but at lower levels.
Naturally infected insects collected at a commercial broiler farm and were fed to chicks also resulted in lower level colonisation.
The researchers concluded that producers should implement an intensive control programme to remove the insects from broiler houses.