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J Dairy Sci. 2007 Aug;90(8):3980-5.

Efficacy of nisin in treatment of clinical mastitis in lactating dairy cows.

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Department of Veterinary Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China.


Nisin is an antimicrobial polypeptide produced by Lactococcus lactis and is believed nontoxic to humans. The objective of this study was to evaluate a nisin-based formulation for the treatment of bovine clinical mastitis in lactating dairy cattle. A total of 92 cows with 107 clinically mastitic quarters were randomly assigned to nisin- (48 cows with 51 quarters) and gentamicin (GM)-treated (44 cows with 56 quarters) groups. In the nisin-treated group, cows received an intramammary infusion of nisin at a dose of 2,500,000 IU; in the GM-treated group, intramammary infusion of GM was administered at a dose of 0.8 g. Results indicated that nisin offered a clinical cure rate similar to GM (90.2 vs. 91.1%) and no difference in bacteriological cure rate than GM-treated group (60.8 vs. 44.6%, respectively). Proportion of the quarters with milk somatic cell counts <500,000 cells/mL was not different in the nisin-treated group (50.0 and 47.8%) compared with the GM-treated group (33.3 and 37.3%) 1 and 2 wk after treatment. Of 17 Staphylococcus aureus isolates, 82.5% were resistant to penicillin, and 35.3% to GM, but none of them to nisin. Nisin therapy eliminated 54.5% (6 of 11) of S. aureus IMI, whereas GM eliminated 33.3% (2 of 6). Nisin in milk (4.5 +/- 0.8 IU/mL) was detected only at 12 h following intramammary infusion, which was much lower than the upper limit (500 mg/mL) allowed as preservative in milk by the China authority. Because of its efficacy in the treatment of bovine clinical mastitis, especially resistant Staph. aureus-caused IMI, as well as its safety in humans, nisin deserves further study to clarify its effects on mastitis caused by different mastitis pathogens on a larger scale.

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