Identification of Salmonella enteritidis from Experimentally Infected Hens Using a Colorimetric DNA Hybridization Method


Identification of Salmonella enteritidis from cloacally challenged commercial laying hens was studied by comparing bacterial isolations using conventional methods with detection by the use of the GENE-TRAK® colorimetric DNA probe assay. More positive test results were obtained using the latter on days 14, 28, and 42 postchallenge, but the difference between the two methods was not statistically significant. Over the duration of the experiment, positive cloacal samples were statistically more frequent from a commercial strain of white leghorn hens when compared with a commercial brown egg-producing strain (28/60 vs. 9/57; chi-square 1 df = 12.9, P < 0.001). Eggs having various shell defects were produced by the infected hens only after Salmonella challenge. These defects included, in order of frequency, elongated shape, thin shells, off-white color (tints), small size, wrinkles, and pimples. No Salmonella could be recovered from 193 defective eggs, nor were positive isolates made from additional tests performed on 50 normal eggs. Proteus sp. was isolated from 10 eggs, however. Our observations demonstrate that the GENE-TRAK colorimetric method is comparable with conventional bacteriology for the identification of Salmonella in cloacal samples taken from laying hens. Moreover, the two methods demonstrate the existence of breed differences in susceptibility to S. enteritidis challenge.

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Avian Diseases


American Association of Avian Pathologists

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