The diversity of Campylobacter spp. throughout the poultry processing plant

Hamdin Abasher A. Mohamed, Lisa K. Williams, Ed van Klink

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Campylobacteriosis is the leading food-borne disease in developed countries, and poultry are a major source for human infection. The diversity of Campylobacter on chicken carcasses during processing may lead to isolates that are able to survive abattoir processing. This has important implications for public health and adds a further layer to the complexity of the epidemiology of campylobacteriosis. The diversity of the Campylobacter spp. populations on broiler carcasses was studied at three different stages of processing (post-bleed, post-scald and post-chill) in three UK processing plants, using the pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) KpnI enzyme. One hundred and sixty Campylobacter strains from 3 processing plants were identified as C. jejuni (92.3%) with 27 PFGE subtype profiles recovered from carcasses at the post-bleed point. Change in populations was identified when carcasses move towards the end of poultry processing. Seven C. jejuni genotypes were able to survive the scalding tank stage process, and 5 genotypes surviving the entire poultry process. Confirmation by PFGE gives information on the genotypic profiles of C. jejuni on chicken carcasses and how they change according to the temperatures exposed to during processing. Diversity within C. jejuni populations produces genotypes that adapt to tolerate the processing environment, and these may be capable of causing human disease. Understanding more about the genotypes that survive the processing will have important implications for public health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)769-780
Number of pages12
JournalZoonoses and Public Health
Issue number7
Early online date20 May 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2021


  • Campylobacter
  • heat tolerance
  • PFGE type
  • poultry processing
  • survival


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