Analysis of direct and indirect methods for somatic cell counts in the milk of healthy goats

The particular apocrine secretion of goat milk different from the merocrine one observed in cows, may lead to errors in interpreting cellularity evaluations in the milk of this species. Thus, the objective of the present trial was to determine Somatic Cell Counts by means of one indirect methods, the California Mastitis Test (CMT), and direct methods, flow cytometry and direct microscopic count using methyl green-pyronine-Y stain, beyond comparing the methods of cellular counting. A total of 102 samples from 51 Saanen, Brown Alpine and Toggenburg female goats, bred in the state of São Paulo, were analyzed. Goats were separated in groups according to the phase of lactation and to physical examination of the mammary gland, and milk examination. Samples were divided into two aliquots, and were collected after California Mastitis Test evaluation. One aliquot was used in automatic cell counts, and the other, in direct microscopic count using methyl green-pyronine-Y stain. CMT results were as follows: 74.5% of the samples were negative, 8.8% yielded traces, 8.8% were weak positive (1), 6.8% were distinct positive (2) and 0.9% were strong positive (3). Medians of somatic cell counts in goat milk as evaluated by means automatic cell counter and direct microscopy, and grouped according to the different CMT scores, were as follows: 181,000, 578,000, 628,000, 1,421,500, and 5,542,000 cells/mL of milk and 74,991, 271,396, 71,420, 640,995, and 5,049,394 cells/mL of milk in scores negative, traces, 1, 2 and 3, respectively. Medians obtained in automatic cell counts and direct microscopic counts, grouped according to the phase of lactation were 159,500; 508,000; and 277,500 cells/mL of milk and 62,493; 89,275; and 146,411 cells/ml of milk, respectively. The correlation between the automatic and microscopic methods for somatic cell counts was 88%. Based on the results obtained, it could be concluded that there were differences between the automatic and microscopic methods for somatic cell counts, being this most adequate for the determination of the celularidade in the cellularity of goat milk.

Flow cytometry; green-pyronine-Y stain; goats


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