Skip to main content
SLU publication database (SLUpub)

Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Microbiota of bovine milk, teat skin, and teat canal: Similarity and variation due to sampling technique and milk fraction

Dahlberg, J.; Williams, J. E.; McGuire, M. A.; Peterson, H. K.; Ostensson, K.; Agenas, S.; Dicksved, J.; Waller, K. Persson


The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of sampling technique and milk fraction on bovine milk microbiota data and to compare the microbiota in milk to microbiota on the teat end and in the teat canal. Representative milk samples are highly important for assessment of bacteriological findings and microbiota in milk. Samples were obtained from 5 healthy lactating dairy cows at udder quarter level during 1 milking. Swab samples from the teat. end and teat canal, and milk samples collected using different techniques and in different milk fractions were included. Milk was collected by hand stripping and through a teat canal cannula before and after machine milking, through a trans-teat wall needle aspirate after milking, and from udder quarter composite milk. The microbiota of the samples was analyzed with sequencing of the V1-V3 region of the 16S rRNA gene. In addition, somatic cell counts and bacterial cultivability were analyzed in the milk samples. Microbiota data were analyzed using multivariate methods, and differences between samples were tested using analysis of similarity (ANOSIM). Differences between samples were further explored via individual studies of the 10 most abundant genera. The microbiota on the teat end, in the teat canal, and in udder quarter composite milk, collected using a milking machine, differed in composition from the microbiota in milk collected directly from the udder quarter. No differences in milk microbiota composition were detected between hand-stripped milk samples, milk samples taken through a teat canal cannula, or milk samples taken as a trans-teat wall needle aspirate before or after milking. We conclude that for aseptic milk samples collected directly from the lactating udder quarter, sampling technique or milk fraction has minor effect on the microbiota composition.


milk microbiota; milk sampling technique; cannula; 16S rRNA

Published in

Journal of Dairy Science
2020, Volume: 103, number: 8, pages: 7322-7330