Food-borne pathogens in poultry
In the United States, Salmonella infection is the most common food-borne illness reported and is associated with the largest number of hospitalizations and deaths. The major sources of human Salmonella infections are the contaminated meat and eggs from Salmonella carrier chickens. Vaccination programs are never 100 percent successful because the current available vaccines are not efficient. The available live vaccines are not safe, and only reduce Salmonella colonization rather than eliminating it. UGA poultry scientists designed a killed vaccine that can be delivered orally either through drinking water or feed. It was shown to successfully decrease Salmonella load in chickens challenged with Salmonella. These antigen-loaded nanoparticles specifically deliver the vaccine antigen load to intestinal immune cells. This project is the first of its kind to develop a safe and ideal nanoparticle-based Salmonella vaccine for oral delivery in chickens. The ultimate goal of this research program is to improve the health and welfare of the poultry species, which will result in a poultry product that will be free of food-borne pathogens and increase the profitability and sustainability of poultry production. The nanoparticle platform can easily be modified to add additional vaccine antigens of not only Salmonella, but also other food-borne enteric pathogens. Success of this project will lead to developing innovative vaccine delivery platforms against other food-borne pathogens like Campylobacter and E. coli.