An Australian university has been awarded a grant to improve the effectiveness of a Salmonella Typhimurium vaccine in poultry. The aim is to lower the risk of foodborne pathogens and reduce the number of human Salmonella infections.

The University of Adelaide will use the AU $390,000 (U.S. $252,000) Linkage Grant by the Australian Research Council for a project led by associate professor Kapil Chousalkar, from the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences.

Salmonella vaccination is one of the control measures farmers can use to reduce bacterial shedding in their flocks.

Researchers include Dr. Andrea McWhorter, of the University of Adelaide; scientists from RMIT, a public research university in Melbourne; industry partners Bioproperties Pty Ltd. and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Scientists will study the host immune response from Salmonella Typhimurium vaccines, including Bioproperties’ Vaxsafe ST, to reduce the risk of bacteria developing in poultry. Other studies using this vaccine were published in the journals BMC Microbiology, Zoonoses and Public Health and Frontiers in Microbiology in 2018.

Salmonella and egg combination
Chousalkar said eating contaminated eggs and egg products was often associated with Salmonellosis in the country.

“Our university has been working together with national, state regulatory authorities and the poultry industry over several years on a range of intervention strategies to reduce the presence of Salmonella on farms,” he said.

“Improving the effectiveness of vaccines to reduce Salmonella Typhimurium levels, will lead to cleaner farm products and reduce the risk of Salmonella infection through consumption of poultry products, including eggs.”

In Australia, Salmonella Typhimurium is most commonly linked with the egg-related outbreaks, while globally Salmonella Enteritidis is the main cause.

An estimated 4.1 million domestically acquired cases of foodborne gastroenteritis occur each year in the country. Campylobacter is the most commonly reported pathogen followed by Salmonella.

The ARC’s Linkage Program promotes national and international partnerships between researchers and business, industry, community organizations and other publicly funded research agencies.

“This new funding shows the diversity of the University of Adelaide’s research expertise and its alignment with our industry priorities. This funding announcement is further evidence of how the university will achieve its aims,” said the university’s deputy vice-chancellor of research), Professor Anton Middelberg.

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