Main research question/goal
Can we develop a method to avoid infecting calves with Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP) via contaminated milk colostrum? This MAP-free colostrum must still contain the vital immunoglobins essential for the calf’s health. This technique must also be easily applied by the dairy farmer. This is achievable with a methodology generating MAP-free milk which can be 1) immediately applied on the farm, or 2) centrally produced at a reasonable price. Research approach
To make the colostrum milk MAP-free at the farm level, we base the decontamination protocol on the hydrophobic properties of the MAP bacteria by preparing a whey fraction of the colostrum, analogous to making cheese. We search for reconstitution techniques for this MAP-free whey fraction to again make full colostrum milk that is rich in nutrients and immunoglobins for the calf. For the central or semi-industrial application, we use the difference of sedimentation between the various compounds of the colostrum (immunoglobins/bacteria) by means of a centrifuge. That way, we separate heat labile immunoglobins in the whey from the heat stable rest fraction (mainly fat, casein and bacteria). After heat treatment of the rest fraction, we recombine MAP-free whey which is rich in immunoglobins with the rest fraction. Relevance/Valorisation
It is important to feed MAP-free colostrum milk to newborn calves. MAP is a pathogenic bacterium which causes paratuberculosis or Johne’s disease in cattle. This is an incurable and infectious, chronically progressive enteric disease leading to a diminished milk production that results in death. Animals are usually infected under the age of six months via contaminated faeces or milk. Besides the economic loss, MAP should also be considered as a risk for the human public health because Crohn’s disease is possibly associated with MAP. There are some indications that cheeses made from raw or pasteurized milk are possible contamination routes.
DGZ - Dierengezondheidszorg Vlaanderen