Poultry science

Caprylic acid reduces Salmonella Enteritidis populations in various segments of digestive tract and internal organs of 3- and 6-week-old broiler chickens, therapeutically.

PMID 22700516


We investigated the efficacy of feed supplemented with caprylic acid (CA), a natural, 8-carbon fatty acid for reducing Salmonella enterica serovar Enteritidis colonization in commercial broiler chickens. In separate 3- and 6-wk trials, 1-d-old straight-run broiler chicks (n = 70 birds/trial) were assigned to a control group (challenged with Salmonella Enteritidis, no CA) and 2 replicates of 0.7 and 1% CA (n = 14 birds/group). Water and feed were provided ad libitum. On d 1, birds were tested for any inherent Salmonella (n = 2 birds/group). For the 3-wk trial, on d 5, birds were challenged with 8 log(10) cfu of Salmonella Enteritidis of a 4-strain mixture by crop gavage, and after 5 d postchallenge, birds (n = 2 birds/group) were euthanized to ensure Salmonella Enteritidis colonization. Caprylic acid was supplemented the last 5 d before tissue collection (n = 10 birds/group). For the 6-wk trial, on d 25, birds were challenged and confirmed for Salmonella Enteritidis colonization. The birds (n = 10 birds/group) were euthanized for tissue samples after CA supplementation for the last 5 d. Caprylic acid at 0.7 or 1% decreased Salmonella Enteritidis populations in cecum, small intestine, cloaca, liver, and spleen in both 3- and 6-wk trials. Body weight of birds did not differ between the groups (P ≥ 0.05). Further, to elucidate a potential antibacterial mechanism of action of CA, we investigated if CA could reduce Salmonella Enteritidis invasion of an avian epithelial cell line and expression of invasion genes hilA and hilD. The cell invasion study revealed that CA reduced invasive abilities of all Salmonella Enteritidis strains by ~80% (P < 0.05). Gene expression studies indicated that CA downregulated (P < 0.001) Salmonella invasion genes hilA and hilD. These results suggest that supplementation of CA through feed could reduce Salmonella Enteritidis colonization in broiler chicken and potentially reduces the pathogen's ability to invade intestinal epithelial cells by downregulating key invasion genes, hilA and hilD.