Microbial trace investigation throughout the entire chicken supply chain based on metagenomic high-throughput sequencing

Jiwon Park, Dongryeoul Bae, Sun Ae Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


As poultry possesses a high risk of contamination by various pathogens and has repeatedly been linked to foodborne outbreaks, ensuring microbiological safety throughout the chicken production chain is essential. In this study, bacterial communities in chickens and associated environments (n = 72), including feces, floors, gloves, and worktables, were trace investigated from the broiler farm, slaughterhouse, meat processing plant, and the market by amplicon sequencing of the V4 region of the 16S rRNA. The bacterial composition in live chickens along the production chain significantly changed across the stages, with distinct microbiota noted at each step. Pseudomonas, Shewanella, Acinetobacter, and Psychrobacter were dominant in the final products. Staphylococcus was abundant in live birds originally (36.83 %) but dramatically decreased after slaughter (3.07 %, 0.06 %, and 0.42 % in slaughtered, processed, and market carcasses, respectively), which may be attributed to defeathering. The proportion of Enterobacteriaceae, Acinetobacter, and Pseudomonas increased from 0.95 %, 0.03 %, and 0.04 % before slaughter to 13.57 %, 34.19 %, and 21.90 %, respectively, after slaughter, highlighting the importance of hygiene management in the succeeding steps. Diversity analysis revealed the possibility of bacterial transmission between samples from the processing plant and the market. Source tracking was performed to identify microbial contamination routes in the chicken microbiome; the major bacterial sources in the final products were the samples from the processing plant (such as processed carcasses, gloves, and worktables), accounting for 93.53 % of the total microbial sources. These results suggest that in-depth knowledge of microbial transmission between chickens and their surroundings can facilitate a precise understanding of microbiological concerns across the poultry production system and help establish safety management measures for the poultry industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112775
JournalFood Research International
StatePublished - Jul 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety in 2022 [Grant No 20162MFDS011 ].

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • 16S rRNA amplicon sequencing
  • Microbial source tracking
  • Microbiome
  • Next-generation sequencing
  • Poultry supply chain


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