Source: AUBURN UNIVERSITY submitted to
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Accession No.
Grant No.
Project No.
Proposal No.
Multistate No.
Program Code
Project Start Date
Oct 1, 2007
Project End Date
Sep 30, 2013
Grant Year
Project Director
Mckee, S.
Recipient Organization
Performing Department
Poultry Science
Non Technical Summary
Poultry meat has been associated with food borne illness in humans and fast growing poultry exhibits meat quality defects. The purpose of this project is to identify factors that improve the safety and quality of poultry meat.
Animal Health Component
Research Effort Categories

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
Goals / Objectives
A. Validate the antimicrobial efficacy of varying levels of peracetic acid in poultry chill water applications. B. Use bacteriophage and competitive exclusion as a pre-harvest antimicrobial intervention strategy. C. Relate meat quality to histochemical measures of myofiber diameter and collagen structure in rapid growing broiler lines.
Project Methods
Objective A. Poultry chill water will be collected from a commercial poultry processing facility. Chlorine and organic load will be measured. Five treatments consisting of varying levels of peracetic acid and/or other antimicrobials will be prepared in chill water and placed in 5 gallon buckets. The water will be maintained at 4 C and chlorine levels will be tested to confirm they are at a minimal. For each treatment except for controls, 5, 5 gallon buckets will be used per replication. For each of 2 replications, processed broilers will be inoculated with Salmonella enterica Typhimurium (106) and Campylobacter jejuni (106) on the skin of the carcass. Inoculum procedures are described below: Once the inoculum has dried (10 minutes), the birds will be placed in the assigned treatment for 1 hour. Afterwards, the birds will be sampled by carcass rinse in buffered peptone water and Salmonella and Campylobacter will be enumerated to determine % reduction. Objective B. Use of bacteriophage and competitive exclusion in vivo. Three day old chicks will be treated orally throughout a period of 3 days with a probiotic consisting of a pure culture of Bacillus subtilis and a cocktail of bacteriophages(5.4x106plaque forming units/0.5ml/bird) that have shown lytic activity against S. Typhimurium in vitro. Treated and control chickens will be challenged at day 7 of age with 0.5ml of a suspension of a spontaneous nalidixic acid resistant S. Typhimurium strain of chicken origin containing 2.4x105CFU/ml. Treatment with bacteriophages will be continued throughout days 8, 9, and 10 of age. Chickens will be euthanized and weighed at day 11 of age. Necropsy will performed and samples from ileal content and ileal wall, and ceca will be aseptically collected for quantitative bacteriology. A pool of spleen and liver will be obtained for qualitative bacteriology. Bacteriology will be conducted as described using appropriate media. Salmonella will be determined using xylose lysine tergitol 4 agar base (XLT4 agar) plates supplemented with nalidixic acid. Black colonies on the XLT4 plates will beconsidered Salmonella positive and will be confirmed with triple sugar-iron (TSI) agar slants. Samples that are considered positive on the TSI slants will be serologically confirmed with Salmonella O antiserum poly A-I and Vi test kit. Positive samples will be enumerated for Salmonella by the most probable number (MPN) procedure, whereas negative samples will be discarded. Objective C. Birds from fast-growing commercial lines will be sampled for myofiver type and collagen determination. Myofiber type and collagen determination will be conducted using the following procedures using tissue samples that will be screen for muscle fiber type and stained for collagen determination.

Progress 10/01/07 to 09/30/13

Target Audience: Target audience for the outcomes of the research include the poultry industry, academia and government regulators. Changes/Problems: Nothing Reported What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided? Nothing Reported How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? Nothing Reported What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Nothing Reported

What was accomplished under these goals? Nothing new for 2013 due to other commitments.


    Progress 01/01/12 to 12/31/12

    OUTPUTS: Due to new USDA regulations, Salmonella and Campylobacter control in raw poultry products has now made it to the forefront of industrial concern. New innovations in poultry processing include implementation of antimicrobials in post-chill decontamination tanks. Two independent studies with antimicrobials in post-chill decontamination tanks. In study one, the efficacy of using CSA (ceraginin) as an antimicrobial in the reduction of Salmonella and Campylobacter numbers on whole broiler carcasses. In two separate trials, four concentrations CSA were tested (50, 100, 250, and 500 ppm) in a finishing chiller application time of 30 seconds (n=10 per treatment per trial) with inoculation levels at 106. The same number of carcasses were treated with the same CSA treatments on a different day for sensory analysis. For the microbial efficacy trial, carcasses were inoculated with 1 mL of an antibiotic resistant strain of Salmonella Typhimurium and 1 mL of Campylobacter jejuni with a 20 min attachment period. They were then treated in the varying levels of CSA for a 30 second dwell time. Study 2.In this study, a total of 160 broiler carcasses were analyzed to evaluate the efficacy of five post-chill water treatments consisting of 0.004% (40 ppm) total chlorine, 0.04% (400 ppm) or 0.1% (1000 ppm) peracetic acid (PAA), 0.1% (1000 ppm) or 0.5% (5000 ppm) lysozyme against Salmonella and Campylobacter spp. In addition, sensory analysis was performed to evaluate any associated effects of the antimicrobials on quality attributes of chicken breast meat. PARTICIPANTS: 1) Gretchen Nagel Graduate Student Department of Poultry Science, Auburn University 260 Lem Morrison Drive Auburn Univ, AL 36849 Phone: (334) 844-2631 2) Laura Bauermeister Research Associate IV Department of Poultry Science Auburn University 260 Lem Morrison Drive Auburn Univ, AL 36849 Phone: (334) 844-2631 E-Mail: 3) Christy Bratcher Assistant Professor Department of Animal Science210 Upchurch Hall Auburn Univ, AL 36849 Phone: (334) 844-1517 E-Mail: 4) Manpreet Singh Associate Professor Department of Poultry Science Auburn University 260 Lem Morrison Drive Auburn Univ, AL 36849 Phone: (334) 844-2599 TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audience for the outcomes of the research include the poultry industry, academia and government regulators. The outcomes provided are specifically targeted to addressing current industry problems and improving food safety. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

    Study 1:In this study, we found a complete elimination of Salmonella at 500 ppm CSA at <1 h and elimination within 24 h at concentrations of 100, 250, and 500 ppm CSA. Campylobacter reductions were up to 1.5 logs when compared to the positive control 0 hours and a 4 log reduction from the positive control when plated 24 h after collection. This data suggests that in higher concentrations, this novel antimicrobial compound not only would eliminate the majority of naturally occurring levels of Campylobacter and Salmonella but the compound also exhibits residual effects on the carcass to even further reduce bacterial counts. Additionally, sensory results suggest no changes in organoleptic properties of the cooked meat treat with any concentrations of CSA compared to controls. These results suggest that CSA may be a new effective and viable antimicrobial for poultry. Study 2: Treatment with 0.04% and 0.1% PAA was most effective (P&#8804; 0.05) in reducing populations of Salmonella and Campylobacter as compared to the chlorine treatment at 0.004% and lysozyme treatments at 0.1% and 0.5%, as well as the water treatment and the positive control. Treatment with the various antimicrobials was not found to have negative (P&#8804; 0.05) impacts on sensory attributes. Results from this study suggest that utilizing PAA as an antimicrobial in a post-chill immersion tank is an effective application for reducing Salmonella and Campylobacter on carcasses while maintaining product quality.


    • Submitted in 2012:
    • G. M. Nagel, Bauermeister, L. J. Bratcher, C. L., Singh M. and McKee, S. R. 2013 Salmonella and Campylobacter Reduction and Quality Characteristics of Poultry Carcasses Treated with Various Antimicrobials in a Post-Chill Immersion Tank. International Journal of Food Protection.

    Progress 01/01/11 to 12/31/11

    OUTPUTS: We held 5 workshops in 2011 where research regarding improvements in antimicrobial strategies for poultry were presented to audience that included industry, academia and government. In all, 133 industry personnel attended the workshops. In addition, I was a key speaker at the International Poultry Expo conference for Salmonella and Campylobacter Reduction in Jan. of 2011, Atlanta, GA. I developed and conducted a survey of top food safety practices for the poultry processing industry. Responses included 167 plants from very to small integrators. The results of the survey were presented at the conference along with our current research findings that support the industry trends observed in the survey. The conference had over 400 attendees. Another method of dessiminating current research included participating in webinars and scientfic meetings: McKee, S. R. 2011. Salmonella and Campylobacter Control During Poultry Processing, AMI Meat and Poultry Research Conference, November 1-2, Kansas City, Missouri. McKee, S. R. 2011. Control of Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry Operations, NAMP Webinar with USPEA, Al Yancy and USA FSIS, Dan Engeljohn. September 29. PARTICIPANTS: My program is also supported by Laura Bauermeister who is a Research Associate as well as Ph.D. student. She is soft-funded at 30%. Amit Morey is also another Ph.D. student in my laboratory and he is funded by Dr. Manpreet Singh and I. He will graduate in May and has excepted a position with Food Safety Net Services. This year I have accepted 2 graduate students from China that are funded through a Chinese Scholarship. These students are pursuing Food Science Master's Degrees and have begun their preliminary research. I also collaborate with Dr. Casey Owens of the University of Arkansas, Dr. Christine Alvarado at Texas A&M University and Dr. Manpreet Singh of Auburn University in developing workshops for dessminating research findings. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences included the poultry and related industries; academia and government. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

    In 2011, our current research findings were shared through outreach presentations, workshops and technical help. By sharing this information, I was further able to help companies utilize the latest technologies to improve food safety. Two companies in Alabama and more in the US were able to meet the new USDA performance standards by adding finishing chillers/or dips with peracetic acid. Validation of the concentrations and contact time using the commercial equipment was the research project for Grethen Nagel who is a Master's student finishing her program this summer. Our validation work is becoming nationallly recognized and more companies are coming forward to seek additional assistance with food safety application.


    • No publications reported this period

    Progress 01/01/10 to 12/31/10

    OUTPUTS: As part of my project, I completed an industry survey of current antimicrobials used by the poultry industry during processing. After completing the survey, we formed a planning committee to deliver the results of the survey at a conference. The planning committee conisted of myself, US Poultry and Egg, North American Meat Processors, USDA, and National Chicken Council. The outcome was a 2(half-day) conference planned entitled "Salmonella and Campylobacter Reduction in Poultry". It was decided the best venue would be to hold the conference in conjunction with the International Poultry Exp meeting of 2011. Next year, I will report on outcome of the conference. We also launched an on-line Egg HACCP workshop for industry to take. This workshop is based USDA and US HACCP Alliance standards. Peer-reviewed publications were published in Poultry Science, Food-Borne Pathogens and Disease, Journal of Food Protection and International Journal of Food Microbiology. Two book chapters were also published in a new edition of Poultry Meat Processing. PARTICIPANTS: Partner organizations that helped in planning of conferences were US Poultry and Egg, National Chicken Council, USDA and North American Meat Processors. TARGET AUDIENCES: Outputs in terms of target audiences for workshops and conferences are members of the poultry industry, academia, government and students. Outputs of research were targeted towards academia and industry. The work we had completed in years prior with peracetic acid had led to an inudstry change where this antimicrobial is now the primary one used in poultry chillers rather than chlorine. This change in chemical use is an improvement for the environment as well as food safety. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Not relevant to this project.

    While conducting the industry survey, we observed that the industry has changed from primarily using chlorine to peracetic acid as an antimicrobial in poultry chillers. We had conducted and published the validation work on peracetic acid in poultry chillers, and indicated this antimicrobial was more environmentally friendly and had better efficacy than chlorine. Therefore, our research was extended to industry and resulted in a positive change for the environment and improved food safety. Also, USDA is proposing new performance standard for Salmonella and Campylobacter. To help industry prepare, we planned a conference to that will be held at the International Poultry Expo in January of 2011. In further preparation of this regualtory change, we also planned a workshop called Campylobacter 101 which will be held at Auburn University in March of 2011. This workshop will teach attendees how to sample, culture and detect Campylobacter using USDA methodologies.


    • Fasina, Y. O., J. B. Bowers, J. B. Hess, and S. R. McKee. 2010. Effect of dietary glutamine supplementation on Salmonella colonization in the ceca of young broiler chicks Poult. Sci. 89: 1042-1048.
    • *Morey, A., McKee, S. R., Dickson, J. S., and Singh, M. 2010. Efficacy of ultraviolet light exposure against survival of Listeria monocytogenes on conveyor belts. Foodborne pathogens and Diseases 7(6): 737-740.
    • *Pathania, A., McKee, S. R, Bilgili, S. F, and Singh, M. 2010. Inhibition of Nalidixic acid resistant Salmonella spp. on marinated chicken skin. Journal of Food Protection 73(11): 2072-2078.
    • *Pathania, A., McKee, S. R, Bilgili, S. F, and Singh, M. 2010. Antimicrobial activity of commercial marinades against multiple strains of Salmonella spp. International Journal of Food Microbiology 139(3):214-217.
    • Sams, A. R. and S. R. McKee, 2010. First processing: slaughter through chilling in: Poultry Meat Processing. Ed. C. M. Owens and C. Z. Alvarado, CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL.
    • Froning, G. W. and S. R. McKee, 2010. Mechanical separation of poultry meat and its use in products in: Poultry Meat Processing. Ed. C. M. Owens and C. Z. Alvarado, CRC Press LLC, Boca Raton, FL

    Progress 01/01/09 to 12/31/09

    OUTPUTS: This information was submitted at scientific meetings and published in refeered journal articles. 1. Title:Effect of light intensity and handling during rearing on broiler breast fillet meat characteristics. This study was designed to evaluate the effects of light intensity and handling during rearing on broiler and meat quality factors. Male broilers were housed in light-tight rooms and subjected to Bright (BL) [15.0 Foot-Candles (FC)] or Dim (DL) (0.1 FC) intensity. Handling treatments were by Legs (L) or Wings (W), or No Handling (NoH). Birds subjected to DL had greater live weights (p<0.05), post-chill weights and filet weights compared to birds reared in BL. The increase in filet weights observed for in DL was due to an increase in filet length and area. Light or handling treatments had no affect on DPM and other carcass defects. Cook-loss had no specific trend. Within the 2 h PM deboning period, DL resulted in an increase in shear values, as well as sarcomere length, compared to BL treatments. This trend was not observed in the filets deboned at 4 h PM. In conclusion, dim light treatment resulted in longer, heavier filets but slightly tougher meat when filets were deboned at 2 h PM. 2.Title:Control of Listeria monocytogenes in turkey deli loaves using organic acids as formulation ingredients In this study, organic acids were utilized in the raw product and as a postcook dip to determine their inhibitory effect on the growth of L. monocytogenes in turkey deli loaves. The turkey deli loaves were processed, cooked, cooled, inoculated with streptomycin-resistant L. monocytogenes, and then dipped. Treatments were potassium lactate (PL) in the raw product with sodium lactate (SL), sodium diacetate (SD) dip, PL with SL/PL/SD dip, SL with SL/SD dip, and SL with SL/PL/SD dip. The organic acid treatments increased the lag phase of L. monocytogenes, extending the shelf-life of the product. These organic acids can provide meat processors with a useful method for extending the lag phase of L. monocytogenes in ready-to-eat meat and poultry products. PARTICIPANTS: Dr. McKee was the primary PI in the first project, while the second project is part of a larger ongoing study. In the first study, collaborators were primarily Auburn University faculty members who added needed expertise to the study in terms of nutrition and physiology; whereas my focus was on the resulting meat qualtiy of the lighting treatments. Drs. Sarge Bigili, Joe Hess and Roger Lien provided the needed expertise in live bird nutrition and management. As such, this collaboration was successful in terms of research project design and execution. In the second project, a collaboration between Auburn University and Texas Tech was developed to acheive the goals of the study. The goals were to determine the effect of acid marinades on furthter processed meat products. The project reported in this CRIS report reflects the first phase of the study that was conducted and published. Dr. Christine Alvarado at Texas Tech University was the Co-PI on this project. TARGET AUDIENCES: The target audience for this work are the poultry producers and processors. The first study would be important for poultry producer to be able to manage birds and their environment for optimal growth. The second study would be more appropriate for meat and poultry companies who furhter process high risk foods such as hot dogs and deli loaves. The companies generally include Listeria inhibitors in their food formulations and need to understand the impact of these inhibitors on product quality. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: There are no major changes anticipated at this time.

    1. Title:Effect of light intensity and handling during rearing on broiler breast fillet meat characteristics. Impact: Growers can achieve better yield and higher bird weights when broilers are exposed to lower light intensities. This has practical application for rearing poultry to obtain the best yields and growth parameters. 2.Title:Control of Listeria monocytogenes in turkey deli loaves using organic acids as formulation ingredients Impact: Product formulations must be adjusted if acid marinades are used as Listerial inhibitors. Otherwise, product quality is compromised.


    • McKee, N. A., R.J. Lien, J.B. Hess, S.F. Bilgili and S.R. McKee, 2009. Effect of light intensity and handling during rearing on broiler breast fillet meat characteristics. Intl. J. Poultry Sci. 8(11): 1028-1033.
    • Lloyd, T., C. Z. Alvarado, M. M. Brashears, L. D. Thompson, S. R. McKee, and M. Berrang, 2009 Control of Listeria monocytogenes in turkey deli loaves using organic acids as formulation ingredients. Poult. Sci 88: 2235-2239.

    Progress 01/01/08 to 12/31/08

    OUTPUTS: During the past year, research in food safety as well as meat quality were planned and conducted. With regard to food safety, Campylobacter and Salmonella represent the top two pathogens associated with food-borne illness in the US. These two pathogens are also associated with poultry. Therefore, studies were conducted to prevent Salmonella from colonizing chickens at the farm level. Additional studies were conducted to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in the poultry processing plant. The goal of the first study was to combine existing technologies of competitive exclusion with bacteriophage to reduce Salmonella in poultry. Early results did show that the bacteriophage and competitive exclusion could be used to reduce Salmonella. To reduce Campylobacter and Salmonella on carcasses during poultry processing, peracetic acid (PAA) was evaluated an intervention method for poultry chillers. One of the last steps of processing of whole birds is immersion chilling, and at this step antimicrobials can be applied. In laboratory and a commercial trial, PAA reduced Salmonella and Campylobacter on poultry carcasses but was most effective against Salmonella. PARTICIPANTS: Drs. Haraldo Toro and Stuart Price of the College of Veterinary Sciences at Auburn University were collaborators in the study examining the effect of biophage and competitive exclusion on the reduction of Salmonella in chicks. FMC was an industry partner in the study examining the effect of peracetic acid in poultry processing. Cagle's poultry was a poultry industry partner allowing commercial testing of the peracetic acid. Laura Bauermeister and Jordan Bowers were graduate students assisting with the project. TARGET AUDIENCES: Target audiences for this research are the poultry industry, peers in poultry and food sciences. PROJECT MODIFICATIONS: Nothing significant to report during this reporting period.

    The goal of the first study was to combine existing technologies of competitive exclusion with bacteriophage to reduce Salmonella in poultry. When bacteriophage was combined with competive exclusion, the treatment resulted in a 2-log reduction in Salmonella infected chicks. These results are significant as this treatment could be used to reduce the Salmonella load entering the poultry processing facilities. In the second studies, laboratory results indicated that PAA concentrations as low as 25 ppm were effective in reducing Salmonella spp., while PAA levels of 200 ppm were effective in reducing Campylobacter spp. A 2-log reduction in Salmonella was achieved at 25 ppm while a 1.5 log reduction in Campylobacter was acheived with 200 ppm PAA. The PAA-treated carcasses at 150 and 200 ppm also had an extended shelf-life compared to those treated controls. These results suggest that PAA could not improve the safety of poultry but could also improve the quality by extending the shelf-life of the product. A commercial trial, PAA application in the poultry chiller indicated that 60 ppm PAA was effective in reducing Samonella by 90% and Campylobacter by 44%. As a result this poultry company is still using PAA to meet Samonella Performance Standards.


    • Bauermeister, L. J., J. W. Bowers, J. C. Townsend, and S. R. McKee, 2008. Validating the efficacy of peracetic acid mixture as an antimicrobial in poultry chillers. J Food Prot., Vol 71 (6): 1119-1122.
    • Bauermeister, L. J., J. W. Bowers, J. C. Townsend, and S. R. McKee, 2008. The Microbial and Quality Properties of Poultry Carcasses Treated with Peracetic Acid as an Antimicrobial Treatment. Poult Sci 87: 2390-2398
    • McKee, S. R., L. J. Bauermeister and J.W. Bowers, 2008. Validation of antimicrobial effectiveness of peracetic acid. Proc. XIII World's Poultry Congress, Brisbane, Australia