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Research article, 2007

Haptoglobin and serum amyloid A in relation to the somatic cell count in quarter, cow composite and bulk tank milk samples

Åkerstedt, Maria; Persson Waller, Karin; Sternesjö, Åse


Milk somatic cell count (SCC) is the gold standard in diagnosis of subclinical mastitis, and is also an important parameter in quality programmes of dairy cooperatives. As routine SCC analysis is usually restricted to central laboratories, much effort has been invested in the search for alternative biomarkers of mastitis and milk quality, including the presence in the milk of the acute phase proteins (APP), haptoglobin (Hp) and serum amyloid A (SAA). The aim of this study was to investigate relationships between Hp, SAA and SCC in quarter, cow composite, and bulk tank milk samples. Cows (n=165), without any clinical signs of disease or abnormalities in the milk or udder, from three different dairy farms, were used. Cow composite milk samples from all cows delivering milk at the sampling occasion were taken once in each herd. In one of the farms, representative quarter milk samples (n=103) from 26 cows were also collected. In addition, bulk tank milk samples from 96 dairy farms were included in the study. Samples were analysed for Hp, SAA and SCC, and relationships between the parameters were evaluated at quarter, cow and tank milk levels using Chi-square analysis. Milk samples were categorized according to their SCC, and the presence, or no presence, of SAA and Hp, based on the detection limits of the screening methods (0.3 mg/l and 1.0 mg/l for SAA and Hp, respectively). Hp and SAA were found in milk at quarter, cow composite and bulk tank levels. A large proportion (53%) of the animals had detectable milk concentrations of APP, and SAA was detected more frequently, and at higher concentrations than Hp, regardless of sample type. SAA was detected in as many as 82% of the bulk tank milk samples. Significant relationships were found between Hp, SAA and SCC at quarter and cow composite milk levels, but only between SAA and SCC at bulk tank milk level. Detectable levels of APP were more common at high SCC.


Subclinical mastitis; biomarkers

Published in

Journal of Dairy Research
2007, number: 74
Publisher: Cambridge University Press

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