Interpretive Summaries

Interpretive summary: Advanced Disinfection Methods to Fight Poultry Disease in Hatching Eggs 

26 days ago

Researchers at Cairo University, in collaboration with other international institutions, conducted a study aimed at improving poultry hygiene. They focused on advanced disinfection  strategies to combat Mycoplasma gallisepticum (MG) contamination in hatching eggs. A  prominent infection in poultry, MG is responsible for chronic respiratory disease (CRD), a  condition that has a negative impact on hatchability as well as the general health of the birds. 

The study’s main objective was to explore and assess the efficacy of novel sanitization  techniques, specifically electrostatic disinfection (ED) and cold fog (CF) disinfection, using acidic  electrochemically stimulated water (ECS). The researchers aimed to determine if these  techniques could effectively sanitize MG-contaminated hatching eggs without compromising  the hatching potential of the embryos. They sought to find a balance between effective  disinfection and maintaining the viability of the embryos. 

The study involved a controlled experimental setup with hatching eggs sourced from a  mycoplasma-free 50-week-old Hy-Line breeder flock. A total of 6,000 eggs were used in the  study, divided into four groups of 1,500 eggs each. Group A was contaminated with MG and  treated via the electrostatic method, Group B was contaminated with MG and treated via cold  fogging, Group C was contaminated with MG and untreated, serving as the positive control, and  Group D was uncontaminated and untreated, serving as the negative control. The researchers  conducted pre-disinfection analysis to assess microbial load, including total aerobic mesophilic  bacteria and MG counts. The eggs were then contaminated with MG strains isolated from  commercial flocks experiencing respiratory issues. 

The disinfection procedures involved applying ECS water to the eggs using two methods:  electrostatic disinfection for Group A and cold fogging for Group B. Electrostatic disinfection  apparatus was used to apply ECS water intermittently over four hours, while cold fogging used  an ultralow volume cold fogger to apply ECS water for six minutes, followed by 20 minutes of  contact time. The eggs were then incubated under controlled conditions for 21 days, and  various parameters were measured, including embryo mortality rates, hatchability, and  microbial counts during different stages of incubation and in day-old chicks. 

Key findings from the study showed that electrostatic disinfection significantly reduced  embryonic mortality to 10% compared to 18.3% in untreated control eggs. Similarly, cold  fogging decreased embryonic mortality to 13%. Group A exhibited the highest fertility (91.8%)  and hatchability (87.6%), while Group C showed the lowest fertility (80%) and hatchability  (35%). Both ED and CF methods resulted in significantly lower total aerobic bacterial colony  counts and MG counts compared to the untreated group. Additionally, organ weights of  hatched chicks from disinfected groups were within normal ranges, indicating no adverse  effects on embryo development.

The study highlights the potential of ED and CF disinfection methods in enhancing poultry  hygiene by effectively controlling MG contamination in hatching eggs. These techniques offer  promising alternatives to traditional methods, such as paraformaldehyde fumigation, which  pose health risks to workers and embryos. 

For producers, the study's implications are significant.  

Adoption of ED and CF disinfection strategies could lead to improved hatchability,  reduced CRD incidence, and overall better health outcomes for poultry.  

Front-line workers and hatchery managers can consider these innovative techniques as  alternatives to conventional disinfection methods, potentially enhancing biosecurity  measures and minimizing the impact of MG on poultry production. 

The full paper “Revolutionizing Poultry Hygiene: Advanced Electrostatic and Cold Fog  Disinfection Strategies Combat Mycoplasma gallisepticum in Hatching Eggs” can be found in the  April 2024 issue of Poultry Science and online here.  

DOI : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psj.2024.103732

#InterpretiveSummary #EggSafety #Disinfection #PoultryIndustry

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