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Development of a Rapid and Sensitive Test for Identification of Major Pathogens in Bovine Mastitis by PCR

  • Renée Riffon
  • Khampoune Sayasith
  • Hayssam Khalil
  • Pascal Dubreuil
  • Marc Drolet
  • Jacqueline Lagacé
American Society for Microbiology
Publication Date
Jul 01, 2001
  • Design
  • Medicine


Bovine mastitis is the most important source of loss for the dairy industry. A rapid and specific test for the detection of the main pathogens of bovine mastitis is not actually available. Molecular probes reacting in PCR with bacterial DNA from bovine milk, providing direct and rapid detection of Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus agalactiae, Streptococcus dysgalactiae, Streptococcus parauberis, and Streptococcus uberis, have been developed. Two sets of specific primers were designed for each of these microorganisms and appeared to discriminate close phylogenic bacterial species (e.g., S. agalactiae and S. dysgalactiae). In addition, two sets of universal primers were designed to react as positive controls with all major pathogens of bovine mastitis. The sensitivities of the test using S. aureus DNA extracted from milk with and without a pre-PCR enzymatic lysis step of bacterial cells were compared. The detection limit of the assay was 3.125 × 102 CFU/ml of milk when S. aureus DNA was extracted with the pre-PCR enzymatic step compared to 5 × 103 CFU/ml of milk in the absence of the pre-PCR enzymatic step. This latter threshold of sensitivity is still compatible with its use as an efficient tool of diagnosis in bovine mastitis, allowing the elimination of expensive reagents. The two PCR tests avoid cumbersome and lengthy cultivation steps, can be performed within hours, and are sensitive, specific, and reliable for the direct detection in milk of the six most prevalent bacteria causing bovine mastitis.

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