Clearing Farm-specific colostrum from Johne’s disease causative MAP bacterium to prevent horizontal cow-calf transfer of paratuberculosis.

Johne’s disease or Paratuberculosis in cattle can cause detrimental productive and economic losses to dairy and beef farms as well as impaired animal welfare in clinical and terminal stages of the disease. Control and eradication of the disease are difficult and lengthy considering the long incubation time of the disease, the infected animals shedding the MAP-bacterium (Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis) long before clinical signs occur and the absence of accurate diagnostics in the early stage of infection.

It is clear that prevention is better than cure. However, in the eradication of the disease it is important to stop direct transfer from the cow to the calf. One aspect of this strategy includes clearing the MAP bacterium from the colostrum of infected cows before feeding it to newborn calves. While colostrum can be pasteurized to kill off bacteria you also risk destructing the much needed maternal antibodies that offer the calves their immunological protection in the first weeks of life.

ILVO’s food pilot has developed a decontamination protocol consisting of different heat treatments and centrifugation steps to clear the colostrum from MAP whilst optimally preserving the antibody count. First the colostrum gets heated up to 53°C for 30 minutes followed by skimming. Next is another heating step up to 70°C for 30 minutes. Afterwards the colostrum is cleared by centrifugation and bottled in easy to use and sizable portions. This service allows dairy and beef farmers to have their farm-specific colostrum cleared from the MAP bacterium.