Udder Health Systems has maintained a long term commitment to providing state of the art dairy diagnostic products and services. As part of this commitment, we know that there are times that we can provide significant additional value to our laboratory customers when more detailed species differentiation can be provided. Udder Health Systems believes that this is the case for Prototheca testing on cow milk and dairy environmental samples.

Prototheca is a genus of single celled algae that can freely live and multiply in many environments, including dairy farms. Some species within this genus have been recognized as a cause of bovine mastitis since the 1960s. It is now increasingly appreciated that some of these strains can be highly contagious and as damaging to milk quality and profitability as other major contagious mastitis organism such as Staphylococcus aureus. The most common cause of Prototheca mastitis is Prototheca zopfii Biotype 2. Less frequently, Prototheca blaschkeae has been incriminated as a cause of mastitis. Although Prototheca zopfii Biotype 1 and Prototheca wickerhamii and other non-disease causing strains of Prototheca may be found in the environment, they have not been to shown to cause bovine mastitis.

The UHS speciation service is designed to differentiate the species of Prototheca isolated from milk or environmental samples. This information is valuable in disease control strategy decisions. This test service combines of biochemical and PCR tests to make the determination for an isolate.

This service is available to veterinarians, dairy consultants, or dairymen who wish to submit milk or environmental samples to UHS to look for Prototheca. It is also available to other diagnostic laboratories who wish to use this as an out-lab service where “positive” culture plates or milk samples may be submitted for rapid testing.

128P4: Prototheca Speciation.

This test is used to identify if a Prototheca isolate belongs to one of the following four groups:

  • Prototheca zopfii Biotype 1
  • Prototheca zopfii Biotype 2
  • Prototheca wickerhamii
  • Prototheca spp.

If culture positive isolates are submitted on agar plates, the turnaround time is as little as 2-3 days. Please contact the laboratory about Prototheca isolation and detection services that can be done to look for this organism in cow milk, bulk tank milk, bedding, flush water, or wash water. The results will take somewhat longer if the isolate must first be cultured from milk or an environmental sample.