Researchers validate immunity-boosting ability of ‘curcumin compound’ against mastitis in cattle

Economic loss due to mastitis in India exceeds ₹13000 Cr annually; there is no vaccination available against it

In a major breakthrough in creating immunity in cattle against infectious diseases including mastitis, researchers of the Transdisciplinary University of Health Sciences & Technology (TDU), Bengaluru, have successfully validated the immunomodulation ability of a natural phytochemical compound with curcumin as the active ingredient.

The study was carried out in Thrissur district in Kerala as part of academia-industry interface. At a time when economic loss due to mastitis in India exceeds ₹13000 Crores annually, there is great relevance for the findings, the researchers pointed out. They also noted that there is no vaccination available against mastitis.

Research findings

Research findings revealed that the natural product offers immunity in dairy cattle against infectious diseases including mastitis by increasing complementary protein, Interferon, Immunoglobulin (IgM), lymphocytes and monocytes. Increase in Calcium- Phosphorus and Albumin-Globulin ratio and digestibility index substantiate 10 % increase in milk production. There was no incidence of mastitis during the study period,” says Dr.T.P.Sethumadhavan, Principal Investigator of the Project at TDU, Bengaluru. Co- Principal Investigators of the research project include Dr.M.N. Balakrishnan Nair and Dr. C.N. Vishnuprasad.

The study revealed that there was a 1.42-fold increase in complementary protein C3 in the dry cows between 0 and 90th day. Interferon gamma was found to increase 1.48 folds in milch group on 45th day and in dry test group it was increased 1.58 folds. IgM antibodies were found to increase up to 1.89-fold on 45th day in milch cows and 2.2-folds in dry test cows. Calcium phosphorus ratio and albumin globulin ratio was higher in milch groups when compared to dry and control animals. 10 % increase in milk production was recorded from the second month onwards. There was marginal increase in the SNF(solid non-fat) and fat content in milk, Dr. Sethumadhavan notes.

Molecular laboratory investigations were done at the TDU’s laboratory and the Kerala Veterinary and Animal Sciences University’s laboratory at Kokkalai Veterinary Hospital, Thrissur.

Antibiotic resistance

“Antibiotics have been used to manage various infections in cattle. However, it has been noticed that the uncontrolled use of antibiotics results in increased antibiotic resistance. The irrational use of antibiotics for treating mastitis resulted in inter-species and inter-genus transfer of antibiotic resistance and creation of various multi-drug resistant microorganisms in the environment, which affects immunity of livestock and human health as well, says Dr. M.N. Balakrishnan Nair, Professor & Head, Ethno Veterinary studies at TDU.

Ethnoveterinary practices based on the Ayurveda concepts were found to be very effective in managing infections without using synthetic antibiotics and thereby help in reducing antibiotic residues in animal products.

“The compound with curcumin can be used to control mastitis as a prophylactic measure during pre-partum and post-partum stage along with cattle feed under scientific management practices. This will create appropriate immunity against mastitis and facilitate increased milk production by 10 percent,” according to the researchers.

For the states like Kerala where more than 96 % cattle are crossbreds, control of mastitis assumes more significance, they add.

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