Researchers at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., examine culture results from cows given either antibiotics or Poly-x at the end of lactation.

Researchers at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service’s Bovine Functional Genomics Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., have found a new tool in the fight against mastitis. They injected the sugar Poly-x, also known as polysaccharide, into cows’ mammary glands and found it significantly reduced infections.

When administered to dry cows, the polysaccharide mobilizes the animals’ immune system to produce bacteria-killing white blood cells. Previous research indicates that increasing the cell count in milk will prevent infection, explains Max Paape, USDA-ARS dairy scientist. “Poly-x increases the cell count in dry-cow secretions for the first five days of the dry period, thus preventing infection by bacteria,” he says.

For more information, go to:

http://www.ars.usda.gov/is/AR/archive/feb06/mastitis0206.pdf