Dutch scientists have identified a protein in the digestive tract of chickens that might serve as an antimicrobial agent against food-borne pathogens.
In the study researchers, led by
Albert van Dijk of Utrecht University, tested chickens for B-defensin
gallinacin-6, or Gal-6, protein and explored its antimicrobial activity against
gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria, as well as yeast.
reported observing high levels of Gal-6 in the chickens’ esophagus and crop and
moderate expression in their glandular stomach.
showed strong bactericidal activity against various bacteria, including
Campylobacter, Salmonella, and E. coli, which are all major food-borne
pathogens. Fungicidal activity was also noted.
“To our knowledge, this is the first report of a chicken
B-defensin highly expressed in the digestive tract and displaying strong
bactericidal activity against food-borne pathogens,” said the
The study is reported in the journal
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemo-therapy.
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