Grant awarded to develop a multiplex rapid test for mastitis in cattle

Published: 10 April 2018

The University of Glasgow, in partnership with Abingdon Health, has been awarded a grant by Innovate UK to develop an on-farm multiplex rapid test for mastitis in cattle.


The University of Glasgow, in partnership with Abingdon Health, has been awarded a grant by Innovate UK to develop an on-farm multiplex rapid test for mastitis in cattle. Innovate UK will be offering a grant for the above project as part of the Innovation in Health and Life Sciences Round 3 competition. 


Mastitis (udder inflammation), which is a production-limiting disease in cattle and has an estimated £14-23 billion impact on the global dairy industry, is currently detected by visual inspection of milk, temperature monitoring or via time-consuming laboratory methods, all of which have limitations.


The project is worth £805k over a 30 month project period. It aims to combine the diagnostic assay development expertise of Abingdon with the University's animal health and biomarker knowledge in order to develop a highly sensitive and specific assay with the ability to stratify mastitis by bacterial class (gram-negative or gram-positive), thus offering fast, on-farm decision making about antimicrobial treatment of cows with mastitis and providing an opportunity to reduce antimicrobial use whilst safeguarding cow health.


David Eckersall, Professor of Veterinary Biochemistry, and a biomarker expert commented: "This Innovate UK project is to commercialize the development of diagnostic tests for mastitis, which is the most serious health problem in dairy farming.


The project is the culmination of a decade long research programme where we have identified and characterised, in the laboratory, potential biomarkers for this disease. The project will translate our research into technology that can be used on farm and also demonstrate its value in the dairy industry."


The University's project lead Ruth Zadoks, Professor of Molecular Epidemiology, added: “The pressure to reduce the use of antimicrobials in food production is growing rapidly and some countries have already imposed limitations on antimicrobial use, such as quota.


"We must provide dairy farmers with the tools to minimize antimicrobial use without jeopardizing cow health or food safety. This project, and the School of Veterinary Medicine’s good relationship with the dairy industry, enable us to do so.”



Abingdon’s Chief Technology Officer, Dr David Pritchard, commented: “We are very much looking forward to collaborating with the University of Glasgow to start translating their research into a commercially available product that can not only detect mastitis but also guide treatment.


"We believe that this test will provide benefits to the dairy industry in terms of milk quality and yield and to the cattle in terms of animal welfare. In addition, there will be public health benefits resulting from reduced antimicrobial use.






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First published: 10 April 2018

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