Project Name

Biology and control of Campylobacter in the chicken supply chain


01/04/2012 - 31/03/15 

Project Collaborators

Prof T Humphrey –University of Liverpool


University of Liverpool

Project Description


PROGRAMME OVERVIEW: We comprise groups in Europe, Thailand and Viet Nam. The Thai government will fund work there and that in Viet Nam will be funded by Wellcome Trust and the Dutch Government. Our work will address knowledge gaps on the behaviour of Campylobacter in the poultry chain. We need to better understand interactions between Campylobacter, chickens and the environment and how these affect food safety. We will create a holistic picture of Campylobacter behaviour in chicken production and fundamental data on survival, how environmental exposures affect virulence and on-farm population biology and on pre- and/or probiotic intervention on-farm to reduce Campylobacter levels entering the food chain. We will use modelling and risk assessment tools to identify and test the potential efficacy of different interventions that can be utilised by the international poultry industry. We will determine the role of flies as vectors of Campylobacter to broilers and develop improved surveillance tools in order to reduce the number of Campylobacter in broiler meat 

EXPECTED RESULTS: We aim to better understand the behaviour of Campylobacter in poultry production to improve control. We will generate understanding of mechanisms for:

•           In-flock transmission and risk in production ~ bird to bird and downstream

•           Virulence ~ broiler colonisation and extra-gut spread

•           Interventions by improving host resistance ~ finding points for control

•           Environmental survival ~ pathogen source and persistence mechanisms

•           Population evolution ~ how the production chain selects certain sub-types

EXPLOITATION: We will build on current collaborations with industry and companies have agreed to take this work forward. We will actively involve them and give them regular updates, both informally and at project meetings. We work closely with government agencies and regulatory bodies and representatives from these organisations will attend the annual meetings. We will publish in high impact scientific journals and present data at national and international meetings.