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Brix Refractometry of Colostrum from Primiparous Dairy Cows and New-Born Calf Blood Serum in the Evaluation of Failure of Passive Transfer

Stojić, Milica, Fratrić, Natalija, Kovačić, Marijana, Ilić, Vesna, Gvozdić, Dragan, Savić, Olivera, Đoković, Radojica
Acta veterinaria 2017 v.67 no.4 pp. 508-524
Holstein, agarose, biuret, blood serum, brix, calves, colostrum, dairy cows, dairy heifers, densitometry, gel electrophoresis, immunoglobulin G, milking, monitoring, morbidity, mortality, refractive index, whey
Failure of passive transfer (FPT) of immunoglobulins (IgG) is associated with increased morbidity and mortality of calves. In this study we evaluated the digital Brix refractometer usefulness for the assessment of FPT. A number of 16 colostrum samples from the first milking (2-3h post-partum) of Holstein-Friesian dairy heifers and 29 blood sera of 3-6 days old calves were analyzed with a digital Brix refractometer. Total proteins were determined by the biuret reaction. Colostral IgG were determined by radial immunodiffusion (RID), and colostral whey and blood serum γ globulin (composed almost entirely of IgG) were determined by agarose protein gel electrophoresis (APE) and densitometry. Colostral % Brix score was 25.5±3.4%. Concentrations of colostrum IgG and colostral whey γ globulin were 130±33 g/L and 100±24 g/L respectively. The concentration of total proteins in colostral whey was 134±30 g/L. The correlations between Brix values and the concentrations of IgG determined with RID and the concentrations of γ globulin determined with APE were positive and highly significant (P<0.001 and P<0.01). The concentration of serum proteins of new-born calves was 57.75±11.8 g/L, the concentration of γ globulin was 14.4±7.8 g/L, and the Brix score was 8.6±1.0%. FPT (serum γ globulin<10 g/L) was detected in 34.5% (10/29) calves. Brix score correlated with the concentration of blood serum γ globulins in all examined calves. The results have confirmed that digital Brix refractometry allows the producers to use this technique in order to estimate colostral and calf serum IgG, thereby monitoring both colostrum quality and success of passive transfer.