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Oral administration of antibodies is a promising strategy against various infectious diseases. Previously, it was demonstrated that passive immunization by providing hyperimmune egg yolk through the feed reduces Campylobacter jejuni colonization in broilers. Campylobacteriosis is the most commonly reported bacterial foodborne zoonosis worldwide, and poultry products are the number one origin of these bacteria for human infection. To date, no effective control measures exist to limit Campylobacter colonization in the chicken's intestinal tract. Here, the effect of lyophilization of hyperimmune egg yolk on protection of broilers against C. jejuni was investigated. During an in vivo trial, broiler chickens were prophylactically given feed with lyophilized hyperimmune or non-immunized egg yolk powder starting from day 1 after hatch. At day 11, broilers were inoculated with C. jejuni according to a seeder model. Five days later, all broilers were euthanized and cecal content was examined for C. jejuni colonization. No decrease in C. jejuni colonization was found. The freeze-drying resulted in a 16-fold decrease of the antibody titer in the yolk powder compared to the fresh yolks, presumably caused by structural changes in the antibodies. In conclusion, applying freeze-dried hyperimmune egg yolk failed to protect broilers against C. jejuni colonization, possibly because lyophilization affected the antibodies' functionality.
- passive immunization
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