Latest research shows salmonella in chickens could be reduced with the use of novel bacteriophage

Peterborough, 19th July 2021

  • A recent study by AB Agri and the University of Leicester examined the potential of delivering bacteriophage via feed to reduce Salmonella colonisation in chickens
  • Results show a phage cocktail reduced Salmonella count to below detection limits
  • Abstract to be shared at the Poultry Science Association Annual Meeting, being held online from 19th-22nd July 2021

Salmonella colonisation in broiler chickens could be tackled by bacteriophage according to ground-breaking research to be revealed at the Poultry Science Association Annual Meeting.

A collaborative research project by AB Agri and the University of Leicester, centred around the delivery of bacteriophage – the natural viruses of bacteria – in animal feed.

Tests demonstrate a low dose of phage reduced the Salmonella count to below detection limits – a result that could have far-reaching impact in poultry production and food hygiene.

Professor of Microbiology at the University of Leicester, Martha R. J. Clokie, said: “This study offered us an opportunity to further explore one of the exciting emerging themes in bacterial virus research.

“The results highlight phages as a promising tool to target bacterial infections in poultry.”

AB Agri’s Director of Innovation, Nell Masey O’Neill said: “Foodborne diseases, including Salmonellosis in humans, are a significant world health challenge. According to the World Health Organisation almost 1 in 10 people fall ill and 33 million of healthy life years are lost every year. This study shows that phage may be a useful weapon against this challenge, helping our industry produce safer food.

“Furthermore, our industry has been responsible by taking growth-promoting antibiotics out of poultry diets, but that leaves us with gut health challenges. Phages could offer a potential solution, so we were keen to explore the possibilities with academic partners at the University of Leicester.”

The research abstract “Assessing the efficacy of bacteriophage therapy to reduce Salmonella colonisation in broiler chickens” will be shared at the Poultry Science Association meeting by Dr Anisha Thanki from Leicester University’s Department of Genetics and Genome Biology.

AB Agri is committed to supporting science and innovation as part of its ambition to help responsibly feed the world’s growing population.

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AB Agri manufactures animal feed, nutrition- and technology-based products and offers data services for the agri-food industry. It operates all along the food industry supply chain. It produces and supplies compound animal feed, feed enzymes, specialised feed ingredients and a range of value-added services to farmers, feed and food manufacturers, processors and retailers.

Associated British Foods is a diversified international food, ingredients and retail group with sales of £13.9bn and 133,000 employees in 53 countries. It has significant businesses in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia. Its aim is to achieve strong, sustainable leadership positions in markets that offer potential for long-term profitable growth. It looks to achieve this through a combination of growth of existing businesses, acquisition of complementary new businesses and achievement of high levels of operating efficiency.

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Katie Bramwell, Head of Communications

About AB Agri

AB Agri is a £1.2 billion animal nutrition and agricultural services business, part of Associated British Foods.

It operates across the agri-food supply chain from research to retailer, straddling high performance compound feeds and feed co-products from the food, drink and biofuels industries, feed micro-ingredients, analytical and consultancy services, livestock and poultry marketing.

AB Agri began in 1984, working with British Sugar to take bi-product from sugar factories and convert it into nutritious and cost effective animal feed. The business has rapidly expanded through acquisition, technological expertise, nutritional innovation and market development. AB Agri now employs more than 3,000 people and supplies products and services to farmers, feed and food manufacturers, processors, and retailers selling products in more than 70 countries.


Pippa Moraitopoulos, Garnett Keeler PR
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AB Agri
AB Agri Ltd
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