Using bacteriophages and immune modulators to control Salmonella infection in chicken

One of main sources of Salmonella infections in human are contaminated poultry products. Strategies, that do not involve antibiotics, are required. Therefore, the aim of the project is to enhance the immune system of chicken and kill Salmonella bacteria by using feed additives and bacteriophages.


One of the main risk factors for Salmonella infection in humans are eggs and meat of infected chickens. The use of antibiotics to combat these infections in chickens is no longer allowed as they pose a risk that bacteria gain antibiotic resistance. This will make infections of humans with these bacteria much more difficult to treat. The project Faag op Maat therefore aims to develop alternative strategies for controlling Salmonella infections in chickens.

Project description

The aim of the project is to reduce the abundance Salmonella in chicken to improve the health status of chicken and reduce the risk of Salmonella infections in humans, by:

  • Enhancing the immune system with immune stimulation feed components.
  • The use of bacteriophages that can specifically kill Salmonella bacteria.

Along the project, a tool for assessing chicken’s immune response (capture ELISA) is optimised, which is used for assess the immune modulating potential of different feed additives and will enable a better understanding of chicken immune system in the future.


We developed the tool to assess production of 5 chicken cytokines, which role is to mediate the response of immune system. With this tool, and other available assays, we tested feed additives for their immunomodulatory properties. First results revealed that some of these additives can modulate the response of immune cells, therefore they will be tested further for better characterization and possible modulation of bacteria-killing capacity of immune cells.