Small molecule growth inhibitors of avian pathogenic E. coli (APEC) as a means to control APEC infections in poultry.
Small molecules have been developed that have shown effective defense against Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC). These molecules can be used by itself, or with current antibiotics, which helps decrease the overall risk of bacterial antibiotic resistance.
Avian pathogenic Escherichia coli (APEC) is one of the most common poultry diseases that is characterized by a series of extra intestinal infections that effect the visceral organs of the bird. The disease affects chickens, turkeys, and other avian species, and highly reduces egg production and weight gain, costing the global poultry industry millions of dollars each year. In addition, septicemia (blood poisoning) and airsacculitis (infection of chicken air sacks) stains the meat, rendering large parts of the entire bird useless for sale. In fact, those two symptoms alone costs 44 million dollars in the US broiler industry. APEC infections also result in increased mortality rates, up to 20%.
Current methods of eliminating APEC involves heavy reliance of antibiotics such as tetracylines, cephalosporins, or quinolones. While initially effective, APEC pathogens have shown a rising level of resistance to these antibiotics, increasing the virulence of APEC each year. This means that in order for farmers to maintain healthy chickens, they must increase the quantity of antibiotics used, or switch to a harsher and often times more expensive chemical. Thus, there needs to be an economically efficient strategy to prevent APEC in poultry, with minimal use of antibiotics.
Researchers at The Ohio State University have identified seven small molecules (SM) that have shown promising and effective bactericidal activity against APEC pathogens, collectively known as avian colibacillosis. Small molecules are organic compounds with drug like properties that are effective against the pathogen, as well as pathogens that have already developed antibiotic immunity. This series of novel antimicrobials has the potential to reduce not only poultry infections from APEC pathogens but also reduce bacterial antimicrobial resistance.