TUCKER, GA. – The U.S. Poultry & Egg Association announces the completion of two research projects as a part of its comprehensive research program of all phases of poultry and egg production and processing.

The first project was titled “Attempt to find genetic biomarkers to identify the Campylobacter Jejuni isolates capable of infecting humans.” Campylobacter found in poultry can cause bacterial intestinal problems in humans. However, research has shown that some of the main Campylobacter subtypes found in poultry, have not been found in humans. The objective of this study was to determine if DNA cell invasion assays could identify biomarkers in humans not found in poultry.

Results suggest that comparative DNA analyses were able to identify biomarkers associated with infection with Campylobacter. Two genes were found that may serve as biomarkers to identify Campylobacter isolates involved in human illness. Additionally, a gene was identified that was used to develop a fusion vaccine against Campylobacter.

The goal of the second project, titled “Evaluation of experimental R11/3 virus vaccines for control of transmissible viral proventriculitis in broiler chickens,” was to develop a recombinant DNA vaccine based on the RII/3 virus VP2 protein.

Transmissible viral proventriculitis (TVP), an infectious disease in broilers, results in substantial economic losses due to poor growth and rupture of the proventriculi during processing. The VP2 (rVP2) protein gene was cloned and expressed in a bacterial vector. Chicks were virus challenged at 2 and 15 days of age by intramuscular injections. The rVP2 protein vaccine failed to provide protective immunity, although antisera contained high levels of the RII/3 virus specific antibody. Therefore, although the recombinant VP2 protein was immunogenic, it failed to provide immunity for prevention of TVP. Findings indicate that an effective TVP vaccine will likely require construction with a vector such as the fowlpox virus or herpes virus of turkeys, according to researchers.

For more information on this research or more by the association, go to www.poultryegg.org.