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Mastitis-Causing Streptococci Are Important Contributors to Bacterial Counts in Raw Bulk Tank Milk

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The objective of this study was to probe the contribution of streptococci to the microbial quality of raw milk. Over a 5 month period, bulk tank milk samples from 48 New York State dairy farms were analyzed qualitatively for bacterial ecology and quantitatively for total bacterial, streptococcal, staphylococcal, and gram-negative bacterial counts. Linear regression analysis was used to determine the contribution of differential counts to total bacterial counts. Streptococci, staphylococci, and gram-negative bacteria accounted for 69, 3, and 3% of total bacterial count variability, respectively. Randomly selected Streptococcus isolates from each bulk tank milk sample were identified to species by means of the API 20 STREP identification system. The most commonly identified streptococcal species were Streptococcus uberis, Aerococcus viridans, and Streptococcus agalactiae, which were detected in 81, 50, and 31% of 48 bulk tank samples, respectively. For five herds, S. uberis isolates from bulk tank milk and individual cows were characterized by Pvu II ribotyping. A farm-specific dominant ribotype was found in each bulk tank sample, and that ribotype was isolated from at least one cow within each herd of origin. Bacteriological and strain typing data indicate that control of streptococci, specifically mastitis-causing species, is important for improvement of the microbial quality of raw milk in New York State.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA 2: Quality Milk Production Services, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York 14853, USA

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