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Differentiation and Enumeration of Somatic Cells in Goat Milk

Dulin, A. M., Paape, M. J., Wergin, W. P.
Journal of food protection 1982 v.45 no.5 pp. 435-439
DNA, endoplasmic reticulum, goat milk, leukocytes, lipids, mastitis, milk, somatic cell count, somatic cells, transmission electron microscopy, Wisconsin
Non-leukocytic cell-like particles commonly observed in goat milk were examined ultrastructurally and cytochemically. Transmission electron microscopy indicated that these particles were generally membrane-bound and anucleate. They contained granular material in the dilated cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum and homogeneous electron translucent inclusions that resembled lipid. Histochemical and fluorescent staining indicated that the particles contained large amounts of protein, some lipid, but no deoxyribonucleic acid. Several methods routinely used for estimating somatic cell counts in cow milk were compared to determine which one would give accurate estimates of somatic cell counts in goat milk. No significant difference was found (P> .05) among methods which specifically measure deoxyribonucleic acid. These included Membrane Filter-DNA, direct microscopic somatic cell counts using Pyron in Y-methyl green stain, and Fossomatic cell counts. Results of the Wisconsin Mastitis Test did not differ significantly from Fossomatic cell counts. Because Coulter electronic counts and direct microscopic somatic cell counts using Levowitz-Weber stain could not differentiate between the cell-like particles and the actual leukocytes, these methods resulted in elevated cell counts that were highly variable. Results indicate that only those counting methods that are specific for deoxyribonucleic acid can distinguish cell-like particles from somatic cells, and thereby give reliable estimates of somatic cell numbers in goat milk.