The effects of treatment with an undefined commercial Nurmi-type culture (NTC), cultured cecal contents, and a dual-strain probiotic, containing Enterococcus faecalis and Pediococcus pentosaceus, on Salmonella Typhimurium colonization were evaluated in a specific-pathogen-free bird model. Two sets of trials were performed, and each study was arranged as a randomized complete block design with three treatments. Treatments consisted of (i) control, (ii) commercial NTC, and (iii) cultured cecal contents in the first set of trials and (i) control, (ii) defined probiotic, and (iii) cultured cecal contents in the second set. On day 1, birds were administered 1.2 × 107 CFU of the appropriate treatment by oral gavage. On day 3, all birds were challenged with 1 × 106 CFU of Salmonella Typhimurium 29E (nalidixic acid resistant). Chicks were asphyxiated with argon gas on day 10, and ceca were aseptically removed. Salmonella Typhimurium counts (CFU per milliliter of cecal contents) were determined on brilliant green agar containing 30 mg of nalidixic acid per liter, and CFU counts were log transformed prior to analysis. Cecal pH and volatile fatty acid concentrations were also determined. Data were analyzed by one-way analysis of variance, and means were compared by Tukey's pairwise analysis. Commercial NTC and cultured cecal contents treatments resulted in a significant decrease (P ≤ 0.05) in Salmonella Typhimurium 29E colonization, with the NTC offering a higher level of protection. In the second set of trials, the defined probiotic tended to reduce colonization by Salmonella Typhimurium (P = 0.07), while chicks treated with cultured cecal contents displayed a significant decrease (P = 0.03) when compared to the negative control. No significant change was observed in cecal pH or in acetate and propionate concentrations; however, a significant increase in butyrate concentrations in both the cultured cecal contents and defined probiotic treatment groups was observed when compared to the control birds. These observations suggest that defined cultures are less effective Salmonella control agents than are preparations generated from the complete cecal microflora.

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