Measurement Technology and Analytics

Mobile pathogen analysis for the reduction of broadband antibiotics

A milk sample is introduced into a microfluidic cartridge for analysis.
© Fraunhofer ENAS
A milk sample is introduced into a microfluidic cartridge for analysis.

In the year 2011, nearly 2/3 (approx. 1700 t) of the annual antibiotics consumption in Germany was used in the field of veterinary medicine. Resulting from the increasing number of pathogens with antibiotic resistances in veterinary and human medicine and the developing awareness of the negative results of the drug input into ecosystems, a rational usage of antibiotics became an important target. Mastitis, i.e. the infection of an udder segment, is among the most common indications for antibiotics use in milk production. Untreated mastitis may result in the loss of the infected udder section or even the death of the cow. In the project MANTRA, which is funded by the Sächsische Aufbau Bank, Fraunhofer ENAS is cooperating with veterinarians, biotechnologists and device manufacturer in the development of a novel quick test for mastitis. The test will reduce the time until a pathogen-specific treatment can be started by identifying relevant pathogens and, eventually, antibiotic resistances in milk samples. Thus, additionally the use of non-pathogen specific broadband antibiotics will be reduced.
For the rapid detection of pathogens, a milk sample is transferred into a microfluidic system, which automatically executes all necessary process steps for sample preparation, DNA amplification and detection of the pathogen DNA with a DNA microarray. The same applies for the detection of DNA point mutations, which are specific for antibiotic resistances.