Cows may be able to better respond disease challenges thanks to new research at the Periparturient Diseases of Cattle Research Unit, USDA-AgriculturalResearchServiceNationalAnimalDiseaseCenter in Ames, Iowa. There, scientists are using “shotgun proteomics” to close in on the dynamics of the dairy cow immune system.

The researchers are using proteomics — identifying the proteins that make up a cell — to identify and study neutrophils, the white blood cells that are a key part of the immune system. They estimate that the neutrophil proteome, the entire collection of proteins produced by neutrophils, may have some 100,000 different types of proteins, so this is no small task. But it could provide critical information to use in the battle against mastitis.