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Airborne Microorganisms During the Commercial Production and Processing of Japanese Quail

Keywords: Quail production , quail processing , airborne bacteria , microorganisms

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Abstract:

Total aerobic bacteria, molds/yeasts, E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae in the air during the commercial production and processing of Japanese quail were enumerated at twelve different sites. Production-related sampling sites included the breeder and grow-out houses along with the hatchery setter, hatcher, egg room and chick room. Processing-related sampling sites included the hanging/stunning area, scalding/defeathering room, evisceration line, chiller exit, further processing area and shipping room. Sampling site had a significant effect on the log10 counts for total aerobic bacteria, molds/yeasts, E. coli and Enterobacteriaceae and (P < 0.0001). Moreover, significant correlation was found between airborne bacteria counts and both environmental temperature and humidity (P < 0.05). During production, highest counts for total aerobic bacteria (8.1 log10 cfu/ml air), molds/yeasts (3.6 log10 cfu/ml air), E. coli (1.9 log10 cfu/ml air) and Enterobacteriaceae (2.3 log10 cfu/ml air) occurred in the grow-out house. Lowest production-related counts for total aerobic bacteria (3.5 log10 cfu/ml air), molds/yeasts (2.5 log10 cfu/ml air) and Enterobacteriaceae (2.0 log10 cfu/ml air) occurred in the chick room at the hatchery. At the processing facility, highest counts for total aerobic bacteria (6.8 log10 cfu/ml air), E. coli (1.4 log10 cfu/ml air) and Enterobacteriaceae (1.5 log10 cfu/ml air) occurred in the areas where quail are hung/stunned and scalded/defeathered. E. coli was not found at any of the sampling sites in the hatchery (setter, hatcher, egg room, chick room) or at the chiller exit, further processing area or shipping room at the processing facility. Data gathered during this study may be useful in identifying the sources and levels of airborne contaminates in commercial production and processing of quail so that effective intervention practices may be established or strengthened.

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