Thanks to a CAD$1.7 million boost from the Dairy Research Cluster 2, the Canadian Bovine Mastitis and Milk Quality Research Network (CBMQRN) has funding for 11 new mastitis control projects. Involving nearly 30 researchers from across the country, the projects address three main themes: animal health, pathogens and the environment.
Three projects fall under the animal health theme, including a project that looks at quarter-based selective dry-cow therapy using on-farm diagnostics led by Jean-Philippe Roy of the University of Montreal.
“The goal of this project is to assess the efficacy of an on-farm culture kit using Petrifilm on targeted treatment decisions of quarters at dry off,” says Roy.
The goal of the second project under the animal health theme is to develop a technology that promotes sustained stimulation of local immunity to protect the gland from invading pathogens. Researchers hope that the new drying off tools will improve resistance to new udder infections. Pierre Lacasse of the Dairy and Swine Research and Development Centre and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada lead the project.
Projects that fall under the pathogen theme all focus on developing technologies and gathering information for better detection and control of pathogens, as well as mitigation of their effects.
For example, Jean-Philippe Roy is looking at prediction persistence and clinical expression of intramammary infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus. Mario Jacques of the University of Montreal are working on a project to identify mechanisms of action and the spectrum of activity of antibiofilm molecules found in some coagulase negative Staphylococci. And François Malouin is working on developing a subunit vaccine against Staphylococcus aureus intramammary infections in cows.
Several projects fall under the environment theme, including one led by Herman Barkema from the University of Calgary. Barkema and his team are looking at the impact of management practices on antimicrobial resistance to determine the relationship between the use of antimicrobials and resistance of coagulase-negative staphylococcus, E. coli, and S. aureus isolates.
At the University of Montreal, Simon Dufour is looking at the economic impact of mastitis control practices. The project, he hopes, will help identify management strategies that could better precent antimicrobial resistance, and improve control of antibiotic residues and antimicrobial resistance in milk.
At the University of Guelph, Trevor Devries is leading a project to improve milk quality by allowing cows to stand and lie down in a clean and comfortable environment. It is his hope that by the project’s end they will be able to identify the most suitable housing systems for promoting both cow comfort and udder health.
The projects under the Dairy Cluster 2 should be completed by 2017.
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