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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2023

Factors influencing somatic cell counts and bacterial contamination in unpasteurized milk obtained from water buffalo in Bangladesh

Singha, Shuvo; Ceciliani, Fabrizio; Rahman, Md. Mizanur; Mannan, Mohammad Abdul; Chowdhury, Salma; Nath, Sanjib Chandra; Paul, Ovirup Bhushan; Persson, Ylva; Boqvist, Sofia


Little has been published on the factors influencing the safety and quality of milk derived from water buffalo in Bangladesh. This study aims to describe the milk hygiene parameters and milk chain characteristics of unpasteurized raw milk sold to consumers in order to improve milk hygiene. A quantitative study design evaluated somatic cell counts, total bacterial counts, and specific gram-negative (Enterobacteria) and gram-positive (staphylococci) pathogens in 377 aseptically collected milk samples. Samples were collected at multiple nodes along the buffalo milk value chain: 122 bulk tank milk samples were collected at the farm level, 109 milk samples at the middlemen level, and 111 milk samples at the milk collection centers. In addition, 35 samples were taken from various milk products at the retail level. It was found that progressively increasing somatic cell counts and bacterial counts, including potential pathogens, occurred along the milk chain. A seasonal increase in spring was found, varying based on the farming system (semi-intensive versus intensive). Other factors included water purity and cleanliness of containers, mixing buffalo and cow's milk, and the location of the water buffalo milk producer (coastal or river basin). This study demonstrated how improving udder health and milk hygiene along the water buffalo milk value chain would increase the safety and quality of water buffalo milk in the study area.


Milk hygiene; Unpasteurized raw milk; Milk value chain; Somatic cell count; Staphylococci; Enterobacteria

Published in

Tropical Animal Health and Production
2023, Volume: 55, number: 4, article number: 242
Publisher: SPRINGER

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    Food Science
    Animal and Dairy Science

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