Background Pigs are asymptomatic carriers of foodborne bacteria, such as Salmonella enterica and Campylobacter species, which can pose a risk to human health. New strategies to control bacteria burden before reaching the slaughterhouse are necessary. This study evaluated the effect of Pediococcus acidilactici on performance parameters and on the burden of foodborne pathogens, that have subsequent implications on food quality and safety, in free-range finishing pigs at the slaughterhouse.
Methods Pigs were randomly allocated and blocked by weight into control group (control diet) and treated group (control diet supplemented with P acidilactici) 31 days before slaughter. Weight and average daily gain were recorded and changes in faecal microbiota were determined at the beginning and at the end of the study.
Results No changes were observed in performance parameters. No statistically significant differences were observed when comparing between treated and control animals at the beginning or at the end of the study. However, a significant decrease was detected in the counts of Campylobacter species in treated animals between day 0 and day 31 (4.86–3.40 log colony-forming units/g; P=0.002).
Conclusion This study indicates that supplementation with P acidilactici represents a useful approach to control Campylobacter species load in free-range finishing pigs before slaughter.
- faecal microbiota
- pediococcus acidilactici
- free-range finishing pigs
- campylobacter spp
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Funding This study was financially supported by the Agency for Innovation and Development of Andalusia (IDEA; project references 351504/550859). JG-L is supported by a 'Ramón y Cajal' contract of the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (RYC-2014-16735). FCT was funded by a grant of the Agrifood Campus of International Excellence Programme (ceiA3) from the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and by the Santander Universities Global Division.
Competing interests None declared.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data availability statement All data relevant to the study are included in the article or uploaded as supplementary information. All the data are available from the corresponding author JG-L.
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