Competitive exclusion reduces transmission and excretion of extended-spectrum-β-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli in broilers

Daniela Ceccarelli*, Alieda van Essen-Zandbergen, Bregtje Smid, Kees T. Veldman, Gert Jan Boender, Egil A.J. Fischer, Dik J. Mevius, Jeanet A. van der Goot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Extended-spectrum β-lactamases (ESBLs) and plasmid-mediated AmpC β-lactamases (pAmpC) are enzymes able to hydrolyze a large variety of β-lactam antibiotics, including third-generation cephalosporins and monobactams. Broilers and broiler meat products can be highly contaminated with ESBL- and pAmpCproducing Escherichia coli strains, also known as extended-spectrum cephalosporin (ESC)-resistant E. coli strains, and can be a source for human infections. As few data on interventions to reduce the presence of ESC-resistant E. coli in broilers are available, we used transmission experiments to examine the role of competitive exclusion (CE) on reducing transmission and excretion in broilers. A broiler model to study the transmission of ESC-resistant E. coli was set up. Day-old chickens were challenged with an ESBL-producing E. coli strain isolated from healthy broilers in the Netherlands. Challenged and not challenged chicks were housed together in pairs or in groups, and ESBL-producing E. coli transmission was monitored via selective culturing of cloacal swab specimens. We observed a statistically significant reduction in both the transmission and excretion of ESBL-producing E. coli in chicks treated with the probiotic flora before E. coli challenge compared to the transmission and excretion in untreated controls. In conclusion, our results support the use of competitive exclusion as an intervention strategy to control ESC-resistant E. coli in the field.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere03439-16
Number of pages13
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Broiler chicken
  • Competitive exclusion
  • ESBL
  • Escherichia coli
  • Excretion
  • Intervention
  • Poultry
  • Transmission
  • β-lactamases

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Competitive exclusion reduces transmission and excretion of extended-spectrum-β-lactamase-producing Escherichia coli in broilers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this