Boot swabs to evaluate cleaning and disinfection success in poultry barns
Due to the relevance of cleaning and disinfection in farm hygiene management, accurate evaluation of the success of such procedures remains a fundamental challenge for producers. This study aimed to use boot swab sampling to quantify the effects of such practices in poultry barns. For this purpose, the counts of both the total and fecal indicator bacteria were detected after the application of a cleaning and disinfection protocol in identical barns that were occupied by turkeys and broilers. Boot swab samples were compared to an established agar contact plating method to evaluate disinfection success. Statistical analyses showed no correlations between the bacterial counts that were obtained with either method. In contrast to the agar contact plating method, boot swab sampling permitted the assessment of the hygienic conditions of the barn floors before and after cleaning procedures. Furthermore, according to observations with the boot swab method, factors related to the species being farmed influenced the initial bacterial loads but did not affect the effectiveness of cleaning and disinfection. Species identification by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization-time of flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF) also suggested that non-fecal bacteria grow on selective media. Further studies should validate the use of this sampling technique by comparing different cleaning and disinfection protocols.