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Bovine subclinical intramammary infection caused by coagulase-negative staphylococci increases somatic cell count but has no effect on milk yield and composition

Abstract

The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of subclinical intramammary infection (IMI) caused by coagulase-negative staphylococci (CNS) as a group and by specific CNS species on milk yield and composition and somatic cell count (SCC) of dairy cows. Selection of cows with IMI caused by CNS was performed by microbiological cultures of composite samples collected from 1,242 dairy cows distributed in 21 dairy herds. After selection of cows, milk yield was measured and milk samples were collected at the mammary quarter level (i.e., 1,140 mammary samples collected from 285 cows) for analysis of milk composition and SCC. A total of 108 isolates of CNS were identified at the species level by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) associated with restriction fragment length polymorphism assays (RFLP). Forty-one pairs of contralateral mammary quarters, both with and without IMI, were used to evaluate the effect of CNS on milk yield and composition. Mammary quarters infected with CNS had higher geometric mean SCC (306,106 cells/mL) than noninfected contralateral mammary quarters (62,807 cells/mL). Intramammary infection caused by CNS had no effect on milk yield and on contents of fat, crude protein, casein, lactose, total solids and solids not fat. Staphylococcus chromogenes were the most prevalent CNS species in this study and the unique species that allowed within cow evaluation. The IMI caused by S. chromogenes increased SCC but had no effect on milk yield and composition at the quarter level. In conclusion, subclinical mastitis caused by CNS increased the SCC, but had no effect on milk yield and composition of dairy cows. (AU)

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