Advancing the health and well-being of animals and people


Principal Investigator: Paolo Moroni
Co-Principal Investigator: Francis Welcome

Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences
Email: pm389@cornell.edu; Phone: 607-253-3980
Sponsor: USDA-NIFA-Federal Formula Funds
Grant Number: NYC-478858/NE1048
Title: Mastitis Resistance to Enhance Dairy Food Safety
Annual Direct Cost: $30,000
Project Period: 10/01/2013-09/30/2017

Description (Provided by applicant): Mycoplasmas cause clinical mastitis and other highly infectious diseases in dairy cattle. Among mastitis pathogens, mycoplasmas cause the greatest economic loss to NY dairy farmers due to decreased milk production and quality, increased veterinary services, culling, calf loss, and treatment and replacement costs. Prevention and control of mycoplasma infection relies strongly on herd surveillance and routine culture of bulk milk, followed by rapid response of farm management to detect Mycoplasma among individual animals. However, commonly used traditional bacteriological culture is very lengthy and some Mycoplasma go undetected or are unculturable. Testing of Mycoplasma positive herds to identify infected animals can take many weeks to complete. Multiple Mycoplasma species are found in cattle, however, the role of these different Mycoplasma species in the incidence of mastitis, role in infection, and in coinfections of multiple species is not fully understood due to limitations of traditional methods.

We will develop commercially available, rapid, cost effective, modern diagnostic technologies for detection and identification of Mycoplasma in milk. This will allow early detection and minimization of Mycoplasma outbreaks, reducing losses and improving economic gain for dairy farms. These improved diagnostics and their application to Mycoplasma mastitis outbreaks across NYS over the course of the project will also lead to new knowledge of Mycoplasma species distribution and incidence among NYS farms, and association and role of different species with mastitis. NY dairy farms, veterinary practitioners, the dairy industry, and ultimately consumers and other agricultural industries who rely on the health of dairy industries will benefit from this work. Information gained will lead to improved herd health and mastitis management strategies, improved farm profitability and sustainability, and enhanced milk quality and yield, helping to ensure the long term viability and wellbeing of agricultural industries and rural communities in NY who rely on farm economies. Farms and practitioners will be able to immediately use our assays and apply our research. A larger audience of dairy farmers, researchers, veterinarians, and students will benefit through our QMPS extension and education efforts, and publications in professional, trade, and scientific journals. Dairy producers and consumers of dairy products will benefit from our improved understanding of mycoplasma mastitis, as it will boost dairy production efficiency and improve milk quality, ensuring a healthful food supply.