Comparing Antimicrobial Usage in Commercially-Raised and Organically-Raised Chickens and Turkeys and the Development of Antimicrobial Resistance in Campylobacter jejuni
A comparison of antimicrobial usage in commercially-raised and organically-raised chickens and turkeys and the development of antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter jejuni indicated that C. jejuni isolated from commercial poultry farms were highly resistant to fluoroquinolones, while only a few isolates from organic poultry farms were resistant to these antibiotics. Since no fluoroquinolones were used in organic poultry production systems, the low prevalence of fluoroquinolones resistance in C. jejuni isolated from organic poultry operations seemed to be the direct consequence of the absence of antimicrobial usage in animal agriculture.
The goal of this project is to investigate the relationship between antimicrobial usage in chickens and turkeys in commercially-raised and organically-raised environments and the development of antimicrobial resistance in Campylobacter jejuni.
There was a statistically significant difference in fluoroquinolnes resistance patterns between C. jejuni isolated from commercial poultry farms and the isolates from organic poultry farms. Approximately 46% of C. jejuni isolated from commercially-raised broilers and almost 70% of C. jejuni isolated from commercially-raised turkeys were resistant to fluoroquinolones. In contrast, none of C. jejuni isolated from organically-raised broilers and less than 2% of C. jejuni isolated from organically-raised turkeys were resistant to these antibiotics. Since no fluoroquinolones were used in the organic poultry production systems but these antimicrobial agents were used in the commercial poultry production systems, particularly in commercial turkey operations, the differences in antimicrobial susceptibility patterns among C. jejuni isolated from commercial and organic poultry operations revealed that antimicrobial usage in animal agriculture might play an important role in antimicrobial resistance in foodborne pathogens such as C. jejuni.
To date, the antimicrobial susceptibility testing and the genomic DNA analysis have been accomplished. We presented these results at the 141st annual meeting of the American Veterinary Medical Association, which was a national meeting of the veterinary profession held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania July 24-28, 2004. Currently, we are writing a scientific paper for submission to a peer-reviewed journal.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
Because this project is focused on antimicrobial resistance of C. jejuni, one of the most important foodborne pathogens that can be transferred from food animals to humans, the results of this study can directly impact the quality of life of farmers and consumers in the North Central region. Since the results of our study showed that C. jejuni isolated from organically-raised broilers and turkeys were significantly more susceptible to fluoroquinolone antibiotics than the isolates from commercially-raised poultry, this finding can be used to help promote organic and antibiotic-free poultry production systems, which normally are small-scale sustainable farming operations.