The isolates of Escherichia coli from chicken livers from two slaughterhouses were genotypically characterized in 62 samples. Thirty samples were macroscopically unchanged and 32 demonstrated alterations that led to the disposal of carcass for sanitary inspection. Thirty Escherichia coli strains from 21 unchanged and 9 from carcasses that were rejected were isolated through the classical method. Polymerase Chain Reaction was performed to verify E. coli virulence of the following genes: serum resistance (iss), to identify avian pathogenic E. coli; Shiga cytotoxin 1 and 2 (stx), to identify enterohaemorrhagic E. col; bfpA, to identify enteropathogenic E. coli; LT-I (elt) and ST-I (stI) toxins to identify enterotoxigenic E. coli. Iss gene was identified in 83.3% (25/30), being 76.2% (16/21) from E. coli isolated strains from healthy animals. stx gene was identified in 13.3% (4/30) of E. coli isolates, and in three of these samples was identified as stx and iss, featuring a mixed infection. The genes were not identified in one E. coli isolated from the classic method. Thus, it is necessary to use advanced technologies to identify and prevent Escherichia coli contamination in poultry farms and slaughterhouses.
poultry; Escherichia coli; genetic characterization