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Poultry litter is one of many components resulting from the production of broilers. Understanding poultry litter microbiological composition is very beneficial when attempting to improve the broiler's environmental conditions and searching for the best uses for this valuable industry by-product. The objective of this study was to collect samples of poultry litter throughout the United States and determine the presence of bacteria in the litter. Tests were conducted for total bacteria, Gram negative bacteria, Gram positive bacteria, Staphylococcus, Escherichia coli, and coliforms. Poultry litter samples were taken from 12 different regions throughout the United States and were analyzed in one central laboratory. Statistical analysis of the data revealed a significant difference (P<.05) among regions for each category of bacteria samples, excluding E. coli. The relationship between litter bacterial load and litter pH was also examined. No significant differences were present, but in general, higher litter pH and higher bacterial load were correlated.


Terzich, M., Pope, M. J., Cherry, T. E., & Hollinger, J. (2000). Survey of Pathogens in Poultry Litter in the United States. Journal of Applied Poultry Research, 9(3), 287–291.




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