Absence of changes in the milk microbiota during Escherichia coli endotoxin induced experimental bovine mastitis

Vet Res. 2023 Jun 8;54(1):46. doi: 10.1186/s13567-023-01179-5.


Changes in the milk microbiota during the course of mastitis are due to the nature of a sporadic occurring disease difficult to study. In this study we experimentally induced mastitis by infusion of Escherichia coli endotoxins in one udder quarter each of nine healthy lactating dairy cows and assessed the bacteriological dynamics and the milk microbiota at four time points before and eight time points after infusion. As control, saline was infused in one udder quarter each of additionally nine healthy cows that followed the same sampling protocol. The milk microbiota was assessed by sequencing of the 16 S rRNA gene and a range of positive and negative controls were included for methodological evaluation. Two different data filtration models were used to identify and cure data from contaminating taxa. Endotoxin infused quarters responded with transient clinical signs of inflammation and increased SCC while no response was observed in the control cows. In the milk microbiota data no response to inflammation was identified. The data analysis of the milk microbiota was largely hampered by laboratory and reagent contamination. Application of the filtration models caused a marked reduction in data but did not reveal any associations with the inflammatory reaction. Our results indicate that the microbiota in milk from healthy cows is unaffected by inflammation.

Keywords: 16S sequencing; Milk microbiota; contamination; low biomass.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Cattle Diseases*
  • Endotoxins / toxicity
  • Escherichia coli
  • Female
  • Inflammation / veterinary
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Mammary Glands, Animal
  • Mastitis, Bovine*
  • Microbiota*
  • Milk


  • Endotoxins