Intramammary immunity against Staphylococcus aureus in cattle

Mastitis in cattle is a worldwide problem in dairy farming with a major impact on animal welfare, life span and milk production. Interestingly, quarters of the same cow can differ in their susceptibility to mastitis. This indicates that susceptibility is defined on the quarter level rather than the cow level.

To investigate whether milk characteristics play a role in quarter susceptibility to mastitis, we collected quarter milk samples of morning and evening milk, analysed the milk composition, and determined in vitro growth of Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) a major mastitis causing pathogen, in these fresh milk samples. We found that almost all measured milk components (protein, fat, lactose, urea, lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, and β-lactoglobulin concentrations, and S. aureus-specific antibodies) differed significantly between