Persistence of Staphylococcus spp. in milk from cows undergoing homeopathy to control subclinical mastitis

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Ferreira, Elka Machado [UNESP]
Romero, Letícia Castilho [UNESP]
Cunha, Maria de Lourdes Ribeiro de Souza da [UNESP]
Malagó Junior, Wilson
Camargo, Carlos Henrique
Barioni Júnior, Waldomiro
Zafalon, Luiz Francisco

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Background: Mastitis is one of the major diseases in dairy cattle, as it causes great economic losses to producers due to the reduction of milk production and changes in the quality of the product. The disease is mainly caused by bacteria of the genus Staphylococcus spp., these microorganisms can express various virulence factors, such as biofilms for example. In herds with organic management, producers and technicians use unconventional ways to treat and control the disease, such as homeopathy. However, it is not known if this type of treatment is able to control pathogenic bacteria such as those of the genus Staphylococcus, of relevance to animal and human health. Thus, the objective of this study was to investigate the production of biofilm in vitro and its genes by Staphylococcus spp. isolated in the milk of cows treated with homeopathy, as well as the persistence of microorganisms in animals. Methods: Ninety-nine isolates of Staphylococcus spp. from cows treated and not treated with homeopathy were identified by internal transcribed space-polymerase chain reaction and investigated for the presence of the icaABCD, bap, aap, atlE, and bhp genes and in vitro biofilm production using the adhesion method on polystyrene plates. The enzyme restriction profile was determined by Pulsed-Field Gel Electrophoresis. Clusters of S. aureus and S. epidermidis with three or more isolates had an isolate selected for Multilocus Sequence Typing. Results: The frequency of S. aureus isolations was similar in treated and untreated cows, while 71.4% of the coagulase-negative identified were isolated in cows treated with homeopathy. The distribution of the operon ica genes was similar in animals with and without treatment, except for the icaD gene, more frequent in treated cows. Production of biofilm was associated with presence of one or more genes from the icaADBC operon. S. aureus revealed a greater diversity and greater dissemination in cows treated and not treated with homeopathy. Sequence Types ST1, ST5, and ST126 were identified in S. aureus. Conclusions: The presence of biofilm-associated genes and the in vitro production of biofilms, combined with the persistence of clonal profiles of Staphylococcus spp. demonstrate other forms of control for bovine mastitis should be researched for organic production herds.



Biofilm, Clonal profile, icaADBC

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BMC Veterinary Research, v. 18, n. 1, 2022.