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Assessment of Aspergillus spp. in a modern broiler breeder structure

Posted on 8. May, 2015.

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Aspergillus spp. are ubiquitous opportunistic saprophytic fungi that are major respiratory pathogens in birds, which can cause significant economic losses in chickens and turkeys, with mortality, morbidity, increase feed conversion, decrease production rates and slaughter condemnations.

Initial contamination of broiler poultry farms often occurs through use of contaminated litter or introduction of day-old birds that have received Aspergillus spp. conidia from hatchery facilities. This study evaluated different conditions at the broiler breeder level and tried to ascertain different risk factors connected to this contamination that can thrive in the hatchery. In most modern broiler breeder reproduction farms in Portugal, birds are kept on the ground and eggs are collected by means of an egg belt system.

A total of 210 samples were collected from 30 flocks (one sample per variable and per flock). In each flock, the following samples were taken: 30 samples from egg surfaces (10 cm2) of randomly collected eggs from the floor (dirty eggs); 30 samples from eggs from the egg belt system (clean eggs); 30 samples from the egg belt system (10 cm2 of the egg belt surface) (egg belt system). Samples were tested using a swab soaked in distilled water and seeded on Rose Bengal (RB) medium for initial cultivation. The other sample from the egg belt system was performed putting the open RB plate on the running egg belt system for 5 min. Aspergillus spp. were detected in 46.2% of the samples (97/210), namely in 50% of clean eggs and 40% of dirty eggs. 


Read the full article in Avian Biology Research, Volume 8, Number 1, February 2015, pp. 35-40.

Authors: F. A. Moreira*, L. Cardoso and A. C. Coelho
Department of Veterinary Sciences, School of Agrarian and Veterinary Sciences, and Animal and Veterinary Research Center (CECAV), University of Trás-os-Montes e Alto Douro (UTAD),
5000-801 Vila Real, Portugal

Keywords: poultry, broiler breeder, fungi, Aspergillus spp., Aspergillosis

DOI:10.3184/175815515X14218540241622

Image: aspergillus mold courtesy of Sebastian Kaulitzki / shutterstock.com