Near Infrared Spectroscopy for Diagnosis: Influence of Mammary Gland Inflammation on Cow´s Milk Composition Measurement

  • Published : 2001.06.01


Nowadays, medical diagnostics is efficiently supported by clinical chemistry and near infrared spectroscopy is becoming a new dimension, which has shown high potential to provide valuable information for diagnosis. The investigation was carried out to study the influence of mammary gland inflammation, called mastitis, on cow´s milk spectra and milk composition measured by near infrared spectroscopy (NIRS). Milk somatic cell counts (SCC) in milk were used as a measure of mammary gland inflammation. Naturally occurred variations with milk composition within lactation and in the process of milking were included in the experimental design of this study. Time series of unhomogenized, raw milk spectral data were collected from 3 cow along morning and evening milking, for 5 consecutive months, within their second lactation. In the time of the trial, the investigated cows had periods with mammary gland inflammation. Transmittance spectra of 258 milk samples were obtained by NIRSystem 6500 spectrophotometer in 1100-2400 nm region. Calibration equations for the examined milk components were developed by PLS regression using 3 different sets of samples: samples with low somatic cell count (SCC), samples with high SCC and combined data set. The NIR calibration and prediction of individual cow´s milk fat, protein, and lactose were highly influenced by the presence of mil samples from animals with mammary gland inflammation in the data set. The best accuracy of prediction (i.e. the lower SEP and the higher correlation coefficient) for fat, protein and lactose was obtained for equations, developed when using only “healthy” samples, with low SCC. The standard error of prediction increased and correlation coefficient decreased significantly when equations for low SCC milk were used to predict examined components in “mastitis” samples with high SCC, and vice versa. Combined data set that included samples from healthy and mastitis animals could be used to build up regression models for screening. Further use of separate model for healthy samples improved milk composition measurement. Regression vectors for NIR mild protein measurement obtained for “healthy” and “mastitic” group were compared and revealed differences in 1390-1450 nm, 1500-1740 nm and 1900-2200 nm regions and thus illustrated post-secretory breakdown of milk proteins by hydrolytic enzymes that occurred with mastitis. For the first time it has been found that monitoring the spectral differences in water bands at 1440 nm and 1912 nm could provide valuable information for inflammation diagnosis.