Detection of Mycoplasma bovis in Preservative-Treated Field Milk Samples

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      Control of mycoplasmal mastitis requires individual cow milk sampling for culture and identification of Mycoplasma bovis. This sampling is time-consuming and expensive. Currently, some herds sample cows monthly with the dairy herd improvement (DHI) program, but a preservative is added to this milk that kills M. bovis. In this paper, a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) procedure that allows for rapid testing of preservative-treated milk is validated. The specificity of the nested PCR assay was confirmed by testing isolated nucleic acids of other organisms phylogenetically related to M. bovis or common to milk. A comparison against blind-passage culture on 53 field milk samples determined its sensitivity. Exposure of seeded milk samples to the procedure resulted in a sensitivity of 5.1 cfu equivalents per milliliter. Analysis of these results proved that the nested PCR assay was as sensitive as traditional culture and can be used on preservative-treated milk.

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