E-mail: T.C.W. Ploeggaert
Biomarkers of natural resistance of dairy cows to mastitis
Mastitis is an important problem in dairy farming. Annually about 25% of all dairy cows develop clinical mastitis, but also subclinical mastitis causes many problems. Among many other factors, a good immune state of the animal is crucial for efficiently controlling mastitis.
The working hypothesis of this project is that immune biomarkers predictive for this good immune state or “natural resistance” can be measured in milk and that these biomarkers are correlated to the capacity of animals to offer resistance to infections that lead to health disorders, of which mastitis is one. Tests have (and are) being developed to determine a whole array of cellular and humoral (soluble) parameters in a large number of milk samples obtained from cows with known mastitis incidence. In this way we aim to identify biomarkers that strongly correlate with resistance and/or susceptibility to mastitis.