Applying hot, flowing air to poultry transport crates could be an effective way to kill Campylobacter in these environments, according to new government research.

Poultry is a known reservoir of Campylobacter, a bacteria that causes gastrointestinal illness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, most Campylobacter infections are associated with raw or undercooked poultry, or other foods that come into contact with contaminated birds.

Since animals harbor Campylobacter in their intestines and it is shed in their feces, the floors of poultry coops are rich ground for the bacteria. In poultry transport crates, bacteria in feces left by one bird might contaminate several of the next inhabitants.

While research has shown that washing cages and then drying them for one to two days can reduce or eliminate Campylobacter, this wait time is not practical for farmers.

But scientists at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service and the University of Georgia at Athens have discovered that applying hot, moving air to crates that have been sprayed with water can reduce Campylobacter to undetectable levels, according to ARS’ Agricultural Research Magazine.