ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202209.0357.v1
Subject: Life Sciences, Biotechnology Keywords: Prototheca bovis; bovine mastitis; microalga; cattle; Ecuador; prevalence
Online: 23 September 2022 (03:59:00 CEST)
The genus Prototheca, unicellular, non-photosynthetic, yeast-like microalgae, is a pathogen of concern for the dairy industry causing bovine mastitis that currently cannot be cured and hence generates significant economic losses in milk production. In this study, for the first time in Ecuador, we identify Prototheca bovis as the etiologic agent of chronic mastitis in dairy cattle. Milk samples (n=458) of cows with chronic mastitis were cultured on Sabouraud Dextrose Agar (SDA). Microscopy and cytB gene sequencing were used to identify Prototheca, whereby Prototheca bovis was isolated from 15.1% (n=69) of the milk samples, one of the highest infection rates that can be found in the literature in a “non-outbreak” situation. No other Prototheca species were found. We were unable to isolate the alga from environmental samples. We showed that P. bovis was relatively resistant to disinfectants used to sterilize milking equipment on the cattle farms where it was isolated. We discuss how to avoid future infection and also hypothesize that the real prevalence of Prototheca infection in bovine mastitis is probably much higher than what was detected. We recommend a protocol to increase the diagnostic yield in the bacteriology laboratory.