Campylobacteriosis is the most reported bacterial-mediated gastroenteritic disease
in many developed countries. Broiler chickens are a natural host for Campylobacter
spp., and contaminated poultry meat products are a major source for transmitting pathogenic
Campylobacter strains to humans. Currently, no intervention measure efficiently and
effectively controls this pathogen in poultry flocks. Medium-chain fatty acids (caproic,
caprylic, capric, and lauric acids) show a marked anti-Campylobacter activity in vitro.
However, in recent trials using our in vivo models, administering these acids to the
feed of broiler chicks neither prevented nor reduced cecal C. jejuni colonization
in broilers. In the present study, we examined whether a drinking water application
of medium-chain fatty acids might be more effective in combating Campylobacter colonization
in poultry. Although Campylobacter colonization and transmission was not reduced,
we demonstrate that adding an emulsion of a mixture of caproic, caprylic, capric,
and lauric acids to the drinking water of broiler chicks reduces their colonization
susceptibility and prevents C. jejuni survival in drinking water. Thus, the merit
of water applications of medium-chain fatty acids is the reduction of the probability
of Campylobacter entry into and transmission throughout a flock.