Distribution of Campylobacter jejuni isolates from Turkey Farms and Different Stages at Slaughter Using Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis and flaA-Short Variable Region Sequencing

P. Perko-Mäkelä, T. Alter, P. Isohanni, S. Zimmermann, Ulrike Lyhs

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The aim of this study was to assess the diversity of thermotolerant Campylobacter spp. isolated from turkey flocks at six rearing farms 1-2weeks prior to slaughter (360 faecal swab samples) and from 11 different stages at the slaughterhouse (636 caecal, environmental, neck skin and meat samples). A total of 121 Campylobacter isolates were identified to species level using a multiplex PCR assay and were typed by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) and flaA-short variable region (SVR) sequencing. All Campylobacter isolates were identified as Campylobacter jejuni. PFGE analysis with KpnI restriction enzyme resulted in 11 PFGE types (I-XI) and flaA SVR typing yielded in nine flaA-SVR alleles. The Campylobacter-positive turkey flocks A, C and E were colonized by a limited number of Campylobacter clones at the farm and slaughter. The present study confirms the traceability of flock-specific strains (PFGE types I, V and IX; flaA types 21, 36 and 161) from the farm along the entire processing line to meat cuts. It seems that stress factors such as high temperature of the defeathering water (54-56°C), drying of the carcass skin during air chilling (24h at 2°C), and oxygen in the air could not eliminate Campylobacter completely. Campylobacter-negative flocks became contaminated during processing by the same subtypes of Campylobacter introduced into the slaughter house by preceeding positive flocks even if they were slaughtered on subsequent days. Proper and efficient cleaning and disinfection of slaughter and processing premises are needed to avoid cross-contamination, especially in countries with a low prevalence of Campylobacter spp. The majority of flaA SVR alleles displayed a distinct association with a specific PFGE type. However, a linear relationship for all strains among both typing methods could not be established. To specify genetic relatedness of strains, a combination of different genotyping methods, is needed. © 2011 Blackwell Verlag GmbH.
Original languageEnglish
JournalZoonoses and Public Health
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)388-398
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Immunology and Microbiology (all)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Epidemiology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Veterinary (all)
  • Campylobacter
  • Cross-contamination
  • flaA-SVR typing
  • PFGE
  • Slaughterhouse
  • Turkey
  • bacterial protein
  • protein flaA
  • restriction endonuclease
  • unclassified drug
  • allele
  • animal husbandry
  • article
  • bacterial colonization
  • bacterial strain
  • bacterium contamination
  • bacterium isolate
  • Campylobacter jejuni
  • carcass
  • clone
  • disinfection
  • environmental exposure
  • feces culture
  • female
  • gene sequence
  • genotype
  • heat tolerance
  • high temperature
  • male
  • multiplex polymerase chain reaction
  • nonhuman
  • priority journal
  • pulsed field gel electrophoresis
  • restriction mapping
  • sequence analysis
  • seroprevalence
  • slaughterhouse
  • Turkey (republic)
  • Yersinia ruckeri
  • Abattoirs
  • Animals
  • DNA, Bacterial
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Pulsed-Field
  • Female
  • Flagellin
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Bacterial
  • Housing, Animal
  • Male
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Turkeys

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