Packaged milk is recently tested to address its safety concerns for human consumption and obtained distressing results. However, a large number of our population is consuming fresh milk coming directly from the dairy farmers. With 70pc rural population involved in agriculture and dairy business, Pakistan’s dairy farming is high profit generating industry for individuals and for the country. The export of dairy products and meat to global community brings high volume of profits which contribute to the national economy. Buffaloes and cows contribute 95pc to Pakistan milk industry. However, due to poor dairy management system, sudden climate changes, inappropriate mechanism to market dairy products in local and international markets and diseases like mastitis are major reasons of profit loss and hindrance in the development of dairy sector. International statistics indicate that mastitis in early lactation is primary cause of loss to dairy industry.

Bovine mastitis is known for ages but its complex etiology and multi-factorial nature made it difficult to control. It is an inflammation of udder tissues caused by some physical damage, chemical irritation or infection due to pathogen. Mastitis not only jeopardizes the health of the diseased animal but also reduces the milk production. It is one of the most prominent and prevalent among all diseases that underlines the development of dairy sector. It has a negative impact on the milk production system and milk quality and quantity. Apart from affecting milk, it has a negative impact on human health by inducing antibiotic resistance which is threatening.

In animal health improvement, there is a paradigm shift from treatment of clinical illness to disease prevention. Recognition of disease is the foundation of disease control and prevention. Control measures mainly rely on detailed screening and inspection of dairy farms, evaluation of welfare plans and the use of prognostic diagnostic tests.T he conventional diagnostic methods cannot broadly identify the microorganism due to their existence as complex community. Microbial culturing and biochemical tests are traditionally used methods for pathogen identification. But, these methods are very time consuming and can only detect viable bacteria from the sample and can lead to false negative results. Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is used for diagnosis of various human and animal diseases for last few decades. The progress in molecular methods based on PCR has improved the veterinary diagnostics.

For the identification of bovine mastitis pathogens, an economical, rapid and sensitive molecular diagnostic assay was developed. In a recently reported research a multiplex PCR test is developed for identification of nine significantly important bacterial pathogens causing mastitis in a single test. The developed method is also validated on the mastitis milk samples collected from local dairy farms. The other routinely used tests which are microbial culturing and sequencing analysis were also done in parallel for comparison. The results obtained showed high level of agreement between these methods and the newly designed method has many advantages over the others in terms of cost and time.

To the best of our knowledge, the developed multiplex PCR assay is the first to achieve a low-cost, high-throughput capacity, and fast turnaround time for simultaneous detection of nine bacterial mastitis pathogens and appears to be sufficiently specific and sensitive for disease diagnosis and the target species differentiation. This novel molecular assay could be useful for monitoring and maintaining the bovine udder health, ensuring the bacteriological safety of milk, and conducting epidemiological studies.

Mycoplasma is often ignored as a major mastitis-causing pathogen due to lack of rapid and accurate diagnostic tools. The study was aimed at developing a loop-mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay for the detection of Mycoplasma bovis (M bovis) from mastitis milk samples. LAMP assay is simple, rapid, cheap, sensitive and specific for the detection of target pathogen. It does not require any specialized instruments and the results can be easily detected by adding some dye. This simple method can be easily adapted as a screening test for detection of M bovis from mastitis milk on farm.

A rapid, inexpensive and simple test is developed for herd testing laboratories. These newly reported diagnostic methods have the potential for the development of commercial kits for the use in future. These avenues of research may lead in the future to better diagnosis and treatment of mastitis. The earlier diagnosis of mastitis offers the significant outcomes which include better treatment and management that will further reduces the losses in terms of better animal health and increased milk production. When we will have healthy dairies and our indigenous animals will be producing enough milk for human consumption, we will hardly look for the non-milk products available in market which is not milk but only the substitutes, as they contain hazardous chemical and obviously less nutritional supply as compared to pure milk.