Microbiological profile of chicken carcasses: A comparative analysis using shotgun metagenomic sequencing

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Alessandra De Cesare *
Federica Palma
Alex Lucchi
Frederique Pasquali
Gerardo Manfreda
(*) Corresponding Author:
Alessandra De Cesare | alessandra.decesare@unibo.it


In the last few years metagenomic and 16S rRNA sequencing have completly changed the microbiological investigations of food products. In this preliminary study, the microbiological profile of chicken carcasses collected from animals fed with different diets were tested by using shotgun metagenomic sequencing. A total of 15 carcasses have been collected at the slaughetrhouse at the end of the refrigeration tunnel from chickens reared for 35 days and fed with a control diet (n=5), a diet supplemented with 1500 FTU/kg of commercial phytase (n=5) and a diet supplemented with 1500 FTU/kg of commercial phytase and 3g/kg of inositol (n=5). Ten grams of neck and breast skin were obtained from each carcass and submited to total DNA extraction by using the DNeasy Blood & Tissue Kit (Qiagen). Sequencing libraries have been prepared by using the Nextera XT DNA Library Preparation Kit (Illumina) and sequenced in a HiScanSQ (Illumina) at 100 bp in paired ends. A number of sequences ranging between 5 and 9 million was obtained for each sample. Sequence analysis showed that Proteobacteria and Firmicutes represented more than 98% of whole bacterial populations associated to carcass skin in all groups but their abundances were different between groups. Moraxellaceae and other degradative bacteria showed a significantly higher abundance in the control compared to the treated groups. Furthermore, Clostridium perfringens showed a relative frequency of abundance significantly higher in the group fed with phytase and Salmonella enterica in the group fed with phytase plus inositol. The results of this preliminary study showed that metagenome sequencing is suitable to investigate and monitor carcass microbiota in order to detect specific pathogenic and/or degradative populations.

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