Main Article Content
The aim of this study was to assess microbiota and microbiological hazards in poultry carcasses from animals reared in conventional (n=15) and antibiotic free (n=15) farms. An aliquot of neck and breast skin was obtained from each individual carcass at the end of the refrigeration tunnel and submitted to DNA extraction. Total DNA was sequenced in the 16S rRNA and reads analysed with MG-RAST to classify the colonising bacteria up to the genus level and compare each taxonomic group in terms of mean relative frequency of abundance in conventional and antibiotic free carcasses. Firmicutes displayed abundances always higher than 38% but did not show statistically significative differences between conventional and antibiotic free carcasses. On the contrary, Bacteroidetes and Actinobacteria were significantly higher in antibiotic free then conventional carcasses (21.57 vs 10.95%; 19.29 vs 12.05%), whereas Proteobacteria were higher in the latter (33.19 vs 19.52%). The genera significantly higher in antibiotic free than conventional carcasses were Chryseobacterium (10.07 vs 1.94%), Rothia (3.08 vs 0.77%) and Micrococcus (1.12 vs 0.16%), while Shewanella was significantly higher in conventional carcasses (1.38 vs 0.26%). Among Firmicutes, the genera significantly higher in conventional carcasses were Ureibacillus (1.45 vs 0.11%) and Bacillus (3.28 vs 0.56%). The higher abundance of Proteobacteria in conventional carcasses might suggest that hygienic conditions in conventional farms are worse than antibiotic free farms. However, from a food safety point of view, Salmonella was not detected in both kinds of carcasses and the Campylobacter mean relative frequency of abundance was always lower than 0.4%.