• Complete Genome Sequence of Clostridium estertheticum DSM 8809, a Microbe Identified in Spoiled Vacuum Packed Beef

      Yu, Zhongyi; Gunn, Lynda; Brennan, Evan; Reid, Rachael; Wall, Patrick G.; O Gaora, Peadar; Hurley, Daniel; Bolton, Declan; Fanning, Seamus; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (Frontiers, 2016-11-11)
      Blown pack spoilage (BPS) is a major issue for the beef industry. Etiological agents of BPS involve members of a group of Clostridium species, including Clostridium estertheticum which has the ability to produce gas, mostly carbon dioxide, under anaerobic psychotrophic growth conditions. This spore-forming bacterium grows slowly under laboratory conditions, and it can take up to 3 months to produce a workable culture. These characteristics have limited the study of this commercially challenging bacterium. Consequently information on this bacterium is limited and no effective controls are currently available to confidently detect and manage this production risk. In this study the complete genome of C. estertheticum DSM 8809 was determined by SMRT® sequencing. The genome consists of a circular chromosome of 4.7 Mbp along with a single plasmid carrying a potential tellurite resistance gene tehB and a Tn3-like resolvase-encoding gene tnpR. The genome sequence was searched for central metabolic pathways that would support its biochemical profile and several enzymes contributing to this phenotype were identified. Several putative antibiotic/biocide/metal resistance-encoding genes and virulence factors were also identified in the genome, a feature that requires further research. The availability of the genome sequence will provide a basic blueprint from which to develop valuable biomarkers that could support and improve the detection and control of this bacterium along the beef production chain.
    • Impact of direct and indirect heating systems in broiler units on environmental conditions and flock performance

      Smith, Shaun; Meade, Joseph; Gibbons, James; McGill, Kevina; Bolton, Declan; Whyte, Paul; Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; 11SF328 (Elsevier BV, 2016-11-11)
      This study compared the impact of three indirect heating systems to direct gas flame heaters on a selection of flock performance and environmental indicators in commercial broiler units. No statistically significant differences (P≥0.05) were found in flock mortality rates, bird weight, water consumption, stress response, carbon dioxide, ammonia, temperature, relative humidity, litter quality, within-flock Campylobacter levels or mean Campylobacter counts when flock data from any of the three indirect heating systems were compared to flocks reared in houses with direct heating systems. Differences in litter quality were observed between upper and lower litter layers in all houses, regardless of heating type, which may have implications for bird health and welfare. Carbon dioxide concentrations in houses with direct heating systems were significantly higher than those in houses with indirect heating systems during the first 10 days of bird life (P≤0.05). This was due to the increased use of heating systems during this period of the flock cycle. Differences in CO2 concentrations had no effect on flock performance, possibly due to the fact that concentrations did not exceed known safe levels. A statistically significant increase in stress response was observed in birds as a result of partial depopulation (thinning) within houses, irrespective of heating system type used (P≤0.05). Stress associated with thinning may have consequences for bird welfare and food safety. In conclusion, the results of our study suggest that indirect heating systems do not appear to negatively impact on flock performance, stress response, within-flock Campylobacter levels or mean Campylobacter counts and do not appear to significantly alter environmental conditions within broiler houses when compared to houses equipped with direct heating systems. Indirect systems are a viable alternative for heating broiler houses in terms of flock performance, bird welfare and food safety.