A novel way to suppress growth of Campylobacter in chickens prior to processing


Food poisoning is quite common in Australia affecting an estimated 5.4 million people each year (NSW Food Authority). Of the major causes of food poisoning Campylobacter and Salmonella are responsible for most of the bacterial food poisoning outbreaks in Australia. Poultry is known to be one of the major sources of Campylobacter and Salmonella, these bacteria occur naturally in chickens and generally do not affect the health of chickens. In order to reduce the risk of bacterial food borne illness there is a necessity to reduce the commensal levels in meat chickens prior to processing. Evidently, the lower the contamination of these bacteria at the beginning of the process line, the easier it will be to minimise the bacterial levels at the end of the processing line. DNA aptamers provide a cheap, specific and reliable way of reducing/stopping the Campylobacter load in meat chickens prior to processing, ensuring an overall reduction/elimination of Campylobacter and ultimately a decline in human illness caused by Campylobacter infection. We will employ a multiplex approach that will enable multiple strains of Campylobacter to be specifically targeted and we envisage that our resulting multiplex aptamers will be able to be delivered to chickens in drinking water. In addition, we will also be able to use the same technology to generate strain specific tests to detect Campylobacter in poultry. This approach also has the potential to be used to reduce the levels of other food poisoning bacteria such as Salmonella.


Chicken Meat

Research Organisation

Deakin University (a body politic and corporate established pursuant to the Deakin University Act 2009 (Vic))

Objective Summary

The R&D objectives of this research are;
  • Generate multiple aptamers (cocktail) that display the ability to inhibit/reduce growth of Campylobacter jejuni 
  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of the aptamer cocktail to inhibit/reduce growth of Campylobacter in-vitro
  • Establish the efficacy of the aptamer cocktail to inhibit/reduce Campylobacter jejuni in the chicken ligated loop model and whole chicken animal model

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Friday, July 29, 2016

Project Completion Date

Sunday, February 27, 2022

National Priority

Promoting and maintaining good health

National Priority

CME-Improving Food Safety of Australian Chicken Meat