Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Kiess, Aaron S.

Committee Member

Nannapaneni, Ramakrishna

Committee Member

Schilling, Wes

Committee Member

Ford, Ginger

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

Visible to MSU only for 1 year

Document Type

Dissertation - Open Access


Agricultural Sciences

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


College of Agriculture and Life Sciences


Department of Poultry Science


The prevalence and mode of persistence of Salmonella on commercial poultry processing equipment was examined in this study. The equipment surfaces of six commercial processing plants were sampled over three-time periods designated as A (after processing), B (after cleaning), and C (after sanitization) and each plant was visited three times. Salmonella prevalence was greater (p<0.0001) at time A than times B and C, while there were no differences (p=0.386) between times B and C. A total of twentyive Salmonella isolates from five distinct serovars were recovered from the processing plants. Further examination of the recovered isolates showed that tolerance to sanitizing agents (chlorine and quaternary ammonium compounds, QAC) and/or biofilm formation was the possible mode of persistence. In addition, all the isolates were resistant to multiple antibiotics in different classes of drugs and more than two genes that are responsible for ⅰ). biofilm formation, ⅱ). resistance to QAC, ⅲ). oxidative stress response, and ⅳ). resistance to antibiotics were detected. Three selected isolates were further characterized based on virulence factors and antimicrobial resistance using whole genome sequencing (WGS) to possibly predict phenotypic characteristics. The WGS data correlates with phenotypic characteristics that were previously observed in the isolates including the ability to produce biofilms and resistance to antibiotics including β-lactams, aminoglycosides, and cephalosporins. WGS predicted the isolates carried resistance genes for antibiotic drug classes that were not observed phenotypically. These include macrolides and fluoroquinolone, which is a concern due to its use in treating foodborne infection. Furthermore, the genome of the three selected isolates were predicted to have over sixty virulence genes that allow Salmonella to invade, attach, and colonize the host cells. The results from this study suggest that the antimicrobials used for sanitization may be insufficient to inactivate Salmonella because of the ability to produce biofilms on processing surfaces. Most importantly, the results suggest the ability of the isolates to cause infection in humans meaning if contamination were to occur, the right antibiotic treatment could be a challenge. Further research is imperative to determine the effective antimicrobial for Salmonella biofilms.