MN Impact: Researchers Explore Multidrug-Resistant Salmonella in Turkeys

September 12, 2018


Research will increase understanding of threats to food safety from microbial and chemical sources.


Despite control efforts, Salmonella remains a major cause of foodborne outbreaks in the U.S. resulting in an annual estimated loss of around $4 billion. Effective methods to control multidrug-resistant Salmonella, especially as antibiotic resistance becomes a larger problem, are needed to improve the safety of poultry products.

What has been done

Anup Kollanoor Johny and his team determined the effect of different levels of multidrug-resistant S. Heidelberg (SH) inoculation in young and adult turkeys on pathogen populations in the cecum, liver, spleen, thigh, breast and drumstick muscles.

They then used this information to analyze the effectiveness of multiple non-antibiotic (alternatives to antibiotics; A2A) interventions that when used individually, or in combination, would reduce SH in the most susceptible areas of the turkeys.


Results showed that, in turkey poults, the recovery of SH was highest in the cecum followed by the spleen, liver, thigh, drumstick, and breast. Eight A2A interventions (probiotics, prebiotics, vaccination, and their combinations) were then tested and showed that certain A2A treatments, used individually or in combination, can cause a significant reduction of SH in the cecum, liver, and spleen of turkeys.

These results showcase the importance of controlling multidrug-resistant SH in turkeys at the farm level and the feasibility of using A2A interventions to reduce SH colonization in turkeys.