Nano-particle vaccine to decrease Clostridium perfringens load in poultry intestine


A nano-particle vaccine was developed to decrease Clostridium perfringens load in poultry intestine nano-particle vaccine was developed to decrease Clostridium perfringens load in poultry intestine and thereby decrease the use of antimicrobials in poultry production


Poultry is currently the largest segment of agriculture and agribusiness in the state of Georgia. In 2013, approximately 1.2 billion broiler birds were produced in Georgia which comprised approximately half of the state’s agricultural production. Clostridial-enteritis, also named as “Necrotic Enteritis” is a C. perfringens induced disease characterized with a significant decrease in growth performance and a massive increase in flock mortality and costs approximately 5 cents/bird. In 2013, Necrotic enteritis has been estimated to cause nearly $2 billion to the poultry industry worldwide and $60 million to the Georgia poultry industry. Further, the cost of Necrotic Enteritis is increasing with adoption of no-antibiotic-ever rearing programs (now at over 50% of broiler production). Clinical Necrotic Enteritis infections occur when C. perfringens proliferates to high numbers in the small intestine and produces exotoxins that damage the intestinal epithelium. Currently, there are no vaccines to control Necrotic Enteritis and control of Necrotic Enteritis has been accomplished using antimicrobials. Hence, developing an oral vaccine to control Necrotic Enteritis will decrease the use of antimicrobials in poultry production.


We designed a killed vaccine that can be delivered orally either through drinking water or feed. A cheap affordable nanoparticle based C. perfringens vaccine was developed in Dr. Selvaraj’s laboratory which can be delivered orally through drinking water and was shown to successfully decrease C. perfringens load in chickens by 2 log units. These antigen-loaded nanoparticles specifically deliver the vaccine antigen load to intestinal immune cells compared to birds fed antimicrobials.


This project is the first of its kind to develop a safe and ideal nanoparticle-based C. perfringens vaccine for oral delivery in chickens. The ultimate goal of Dr. Selvaraj’s research program is to improve the health and welfare of the poultry species which will result in a poultry product that will increase the profitability and sustainability of poultry production and decrease antimicrobial use in poultry production. Success of this project will lead to developing innovative vaccine delivery platforms against other intestinal pathogens like Campylobacter and Escherichia coli.

State Issue

Animal Production


  • Year: 2020
  • Geographic Scope: International
  • County: Clarke
  • Location: College Station, Athens
  • Program Areas:
    • Agriculture & Natural Resources


    Selvaraj, Ramesh
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