TUCKER, GA. — The US Poultry & Egg Association (USPOULTRY) funded four researchers’ projects that provide greater understanding of turkey and broiler diseases. The projects were presented during the 2023 International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE) and were recently made available online.

Chongxiao Chen, assistant professor and extension specialist at the University of Georgia Department of Poultry Science, led a study on the “Methods for Preventing Blackhead Disease in Poultry.” Blackhead disease is typically transmitted from turkey to turkey in feces carrying Histomonas meleagridis.

“Reducing stress factors during production may help to decrease the severity of Histomoniasis outbreaks, and nutrition plays an important role in the disease progression,” Chen noted. “But there is still the need to find a therapeutic treatment for Histomoniasis.”

Sunil Mor, assistant professor in the Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences Department at South Dakota State University, compared three types of diseases found in turkeys — turkey enteric reovirus (TERV), turkey arthritis reovirus (TARV) and turkey hepatitis reovirus (THRV). In his study, “Pathogenicity and Genetic Profile of THRV,” Mor observed the whole genome sequencing analysis. He found that THRVs grouped with TARVs but without specific grouping of THRVs and no geographical specific group either. The results indicated that at least four main serotypes of THRVs are circulating.

“THRV consistently induced tenosynovitis in inoculated poults, virtually identical to those caused by TARV,” Mor said, meaning that the virus can cause hepatitis as well as arthritis in turkeys.

Li Zhang, assistant research professor in the Department of Poultry Science at Mississippi State University, discussed pre-harvest strategies to control Campylobacter in chicken. His study, called “Use of Comparative Genomics and In Vitro Screening Approach for the Identification of Vaccine Candidates for Food-Borne Pathogen Campylobacter Jejuni,” revealed three potential vaccine candidates and new approaches for vaccine antigen selection.

Nikki Shariat, assistant professor in the Department of Poultry Science at the University of Georgia, is working to improve Salmonella surveillance in her study “Profiling Salmonella Serotypes Through Broiler Processing.” The study addresses limitations in conventional culture detection methods and traces Salmonella serotype populations through a commercial processing plant.

Shariat offered a potential alternative method for Salmonella culturing, one that can reduce the time required for Salmonella isolation. With CRISPR-SeroSeq, Shariat said a new framework is available for monitoring Salmonella populations during processing.