AIR SAMPLE: Air-sampling, A Low-Cost Screening Tool in Biosecured Broiler Production



Next generation sequencing (NGS), metagenomics, method validation, diagnostics, quality assurance

Project Abstract

AIR SAMPLE aims to develop and validate air sampling as a low-cost and multi-purpose alternative to fecal droppings or boot swab for surveillance, monitoring and eradication of Campylobacter in confined and biosecured broiler production.

Campylobacter is a bacterium that can cause campylobacteriosis in humans. This is the most frequently reported food-borne illness in the European Union, with over 190,000 human cases annually (EFSA). Therefore, monitoring of Campylobacter in poultry is mandatory according to Directive 2003/99/EC. However, the current sampling techniques are mostly a century-old and need modernisation in order to adapt to automated and molecular detection techniques, reduce the cost of handling and transport, and provide faster laboratory results close to, or in real-time for multi-pathogen testing (Hoorfar, 2011). At present, on-farm sampling of poultry is done by taking fecal droppings or boot swabs. Lately, a novel method that consists of sampling air on gelatin filters has been developed to demonstrated the presence of Campylobacter in ambient air from broiler flocks in production houses (Olsen et al., 2009; Søndergaard et al., 2014). As part of the EU project CamCon, the air sampling approach was further showed to be highly sensitive, cost-effective as well as user friendly under various poultry farming conditions (Søndergaard et al., 2014). Moreover, No technical skills are required to perform air sampling in poultry flocks, and the sample is microbiological stable and thus can be shipped for analysis by ordinary mail, rendering the approach suitable for self-regulation.

The AIR SAMPLE projet will provide the European community (authorities and industry) with a low-cost and harmonised tool for interventions as well as codes of best practices. The main outcome will be a harmonised and standardised, filter-based sampling protocol that can replace the current cumbersome and time-consuming microbiological methods. Air sampling should be feasible for surveillance, monitoring and eradication of Campylobacter in confined and biosecured broiler production.

Project Domain

Foodborne Zoonoses

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Lead Contact

Jeffrey Hoorfar (DTU)



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