ABSTRACT

For over a decade, Salmonella contamination has increasingly led to outbreaks of foodborne illness associated with fresh produce. The use of untreated animal manures, or biological soil amendments of animal origin, to amend agricultural soils holds a risk of contamination from foodborne pathogens, such as Salmonella. This study was conducted to determine the prevalence, concentration, serotypes, and antimicrobial resistance profiles of Salmonella in poultry litter from Florida farms. Litter pH, total Kjeldahl nitrogen, total ammonia nitrogen, total phosphorus (P2O5), total potassium (K2O), moisture content, total solids, total ash, organic matter, and aerobic plate count (APC) were also measured. Litter samples (n = 54) were collected from 18 broiler farms across three seasons (spring, summer, and winter). Salmonella concentrations were enumerated using a most-probable-number (MPN) method, and antimicrobial susceptibility testing was performed. The prevalence of Salmonella in litter samples was 61.1%, with a geometric mean of 0.21 ± 20.7 MPN/g. Across all seasons, Salmonella concentrations were not influenced by the chemical, physical, or microbial properties measured. Recovered Salmonella isolates (n = 290) were grouped into serogroups O:4 (43.1%), O:7 (26.9%), O:8 (11.0%), O:1,3,10,19 (7.9%), and O:9,46 (7.2%). Serotyping Salmonella isolates (n = 47) resulted in 12 serotypes, with the most common being Typhimurium (27.7%), Kentucky (17.0%), Enteritidis (14.9%), and Mbandaka (14.9%). Antimicrobial resistance to tetracycline (29.8%), sulfisoxazole (23.4%), and streptomycin (14.9%) was observed. No isolates were resistant to more than two antimicrobial agents. This study provides valuable information for future risk assessments for the use of poultry litter as an untreated biological soil amendment of animal origin.

HIGHLIGHTS
  • Prevalence and concentration of Salmonella in Florida poultry litter were examined.

  • Serovars Typhimurium, Kentucky, Enteritidis, and Mbandaka were most common.

  • Antimicrobial resistance to tetracycline, sulfisoxazole, and streptomycin was seen.

  • Multidrug-resistant Salmonella isolates were not observed.

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