ABSTRACT: Milk quality in bulk tank milk (BTM) is measured by flow cytometry technology as total bacterial count (TBC) and somatic cell count (SCC). To investigate SCC problems, culture or PCR can be used to identify mastitis causing bacteria, e.g., Mastit 4, a commercially available qPCR test. TBC in BTM can be investigated further using culture-based methods such as standard plate count, laboratory pasteurization count, coliform count, and spore counts. To our knowledge, no qPCR addressing the bacteria involved in TBC has been commercially introduced. The aim of this study is to evaluate a recently introduced 3-h qPCR test, TBC 4. The TBC 4 qPCR detects four target groups, Pseudomonas, Streptococci, Enterobacteriacea/ Enterococcus, and Bacillus/Clostridia. These target groups relate to problems on the farm such as cooling, mastitis, environment, and silage. We will continue with new research to compare the TBC 4 qPCR test with traditional culture. For this study, BTM samples from different TBC intervals were selected based on BactoCount results found at routine payment investigation at Eurofins laboratory (Vejen, Denmark). These samples were analyzed using TBC 4 qPCR assay within 24 h. In total, 346 BTM samples were divided into six different intervals of colony forming units (CFU).
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