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Hops contain substances that control pathogenic bacteria in the
intestines of chickens, Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists
and cooperators have reported.
Certain bacteria in the intestines of chickens not only can cause
contamination of meat during processing, but also may pose major
production losses by causing disease in the broiler chicken.
Currently, poultry producers use sub-therapeutic amounts of antibiotics
in poultry feed as growth promoters and to control bacterial pathogens
or parasites. However, bacteria can become resistant to the
antibiotics, so ARS scientists are looking for alternatives.
The hop plant (Humulus lupulus) contains bitter acids known to be
potent antimicrobials. One of these compounds, lupulone, was thought
to control levels of the disease-causing agent Clostridium perfringens
ARS scientists, working under a cooperative research agreement with
hops producer Hopsteiner in Yakima, Wash., examined the effect of
feeding different concentrations of lupulone to broiler chickens to
determine the compound's impact on clostridium populations in the
intestinal tracts of birds inoculated with C. perfringens.
A research team led by microbiologist Gregory Siragusa, formerly of the
ARS Poultry Microbiological Safety Research Unit in Athens, Ga., in
collaboration with Gerhard Haas of Fairleigh Dickinson University in
New Jersey, delivered different concentrations of lupulone via water to
chickens inoculated with C. perfringens. After 22 days--the timeframe
associated with clostridial disease in broiler chickens--C. perfringens
counts were significantly reduced in the lupulone-treated group
compared to another group of chickens that did not receive the lupulone
treatment. The reductions ranged from 30 to 50 percent.
According to the team, the potential for lupulone as an antibiotic
alternative in poultry rearing is feasible based on these results.
This research was published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy.
ARS is a scientific research agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Sharon Durham, (301) 504-1611, [email protected]
October 29, 2008
--View this report online, plus photos and related stories, at www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr
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