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Am J Vet Res. 1996 Nov;57(11):1580-5.

Survival of Mycobacterium paratuberculosis and preservation of immunoglobulin G in bovine colostrum under experimental conditions simulating pasteurization.

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Department of Veterinary Sciences, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ohio State University, Columbus 43210-1089, USA.



To determine whether Mycobacterium paratuberculosis could survive in colostrum after pasteurization. Additionally, this study investigated the effect pasteurization had on IgG concentration in colostrum.


Colostrum samples were collected from cattle (beef and dairy) owned by the state of Ohio.


Colostrum was divided into aliquots and inoculated with variable concentrations of M paratuberculosis (ATCC No. 19698: 10(4), 10(3), and 10(2) colony-forming units/ml). Half the samples at each concentration were subjected to pasteurization temperatures (63 C) for 30 minutes and the remainder were kept at approximately 20 to 23 C. All samples were incubated (Herrold's egg yolk medium with and without mycobactin J) and observed for growth during the next 16 weeks. Additionally, the IgG concentration of colostrum was determined by radioimmunoassay before and after pasteurization. Samples that coagulated at pasteurization temperatures were mechanically resuspended before measurement of IgG concentration.


Growth of M paratuberculosis was retarded but not eliminated by pasteurization. Growth was observed in all unpasteurized samples incubated on Herrold's egg yolk medium with mycobactin J but in only 2 of 18 pasteurized samples similarly cultured. Growth from pasteurized samples appeared 5 to 9 weeks after growth was observed from nonpasteurized samples. Mean colostral IgG concentration was 44.4 g/L in nonpasteurized samples and 37.2 g/L in pasteurized samples, a decrease of 12.3%. High-quality colostrum (> 48 g of IgG/L) had a significantly greater loss of IgG concentration than did colostrum of lesser quality (P = 0.002).


Pasteurization lessened, but did not eliminate, growth of M paratuberculosis from experimentally inoculated colostrum samples. Pasteurization resulted in a significant decrease in colostral IgG concentration but not to an unmanageable level that would preclude the colostrum's use for passive transfer of immunity.


Colostrum is macrophage rich and may serve as a source of M paratuberculosis infection to calves. Pasteurization of colostrum may lessen the risk of infection, but will not totally eliminate M paratuberculosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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