Findings revealed that metal resistance is prevalent in APEC.

June 30, 2023

2 Min Read

Colibacillosis, as a result of Escherichia coli (E. coli), is arguably one of the major causes of morbidity, mortality and carcass loss to the poultry production industry worldwide. The causative agent of colibacillosis is avian pathogenic E. coli, or APEC. Disease associated with APEC is linked to several factors, including the health and welfare of the birds; quality of feed, water and litter; antimicrobial use and stewardship; and overall management practices. Despite approaches to control APEC on all these fronts, the disease is still prevalent and continues to rank as a top issue among poultry producers today.

One of the challenges in combating colibacillosis is current limits on the use of antimicrobials to control disease. One approach gaining increased attention is metal supplements, which in themselves have been found to have desirable antimicrobial properties.

USPOULTRY and the USPOULTRY Foundation recently announced the completion of a funded research project at the University of Georgia in which a researcher assessed the use of metals on the resistance and virulence of avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC). The research was made possible in part by an endowing Foundation gift from Mar-Jac Poultry and proceeds from the International Poultry Expo, part of the International Production & Processing Expo (IPPE). The research is part of the association’s comprehensive research program encompassing all phases of poultry and egg production and processing. 

Dr. Catherine Logue, professor at the University of Georgia, completed the project with a primary hypothesis that metal supplementation can impact poultry health by selecting pathogenic E. coli resulting in undesirable health outcomes for poultry production. Findings revealed that metal resistance is prevalent in APEC, and some metals were of greater prevalence than others. This work highlighted the need for a better understanding of specific supplements or metals in the greater context of their potential for selection or control for pathogens, such as APEC.

The research summary can be found on the USPOULTRY website.

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