Survival of Campylobacter jejuni in waterborne protozoa

WJ Snelling, JP McKenna, DM Lecky, James Dooley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

98 Citations (Scopus)


The failure to reduce the Campylobacter contamination of intensively reared poultry may be partially due to Campylobacter resisting disinfection in water after their internalization by waterborne protozoa. Campylobacter jejuni and a variety of waterborne protozoa, including ciliates, flagellates, and alveolates, were detected in the drinking water of intensively reared poultry by a combination of culture and molecular techniques. An in vitro assay showed that C jejuni remained viable when internalized by Tetrahymena pyriformis and Acanthamoeba castellanii for significantly longer (up to 36 h) than when they were in purely a planktonic state. The internalized Campylobacter were also significantly more resistant to disinfection than planktonic organisms. Collectively, our results strongly suggest that protozoa in broiler drinking water systems can delay the decline of Campylobacter viability and increase Campylobacter disinfection resistance,. thus increasing the potential of Campylobacter to colonize broilers.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5560-5571
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - Sept 2005


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