The objective of this study was to evaluate MilkoScan FT-plus for the estimation of the immunoglobulin G (IgG) content in bovine and ovine colostrum. Between April and May 2016, a total of 94 colostrum samples (54 from Simmental dairy cows and 39 from Sarda ewes) were collected within 6 h (T0) and after 24 h (T24) from parturition. Colostrum samples were subjected to the radial immunodiffusion (RID) assay for the quantification of IgG and to MilkoScan FT-plus for the estimation of protein content (TP, %), which was then used as an indirect method for the evaluation of colostrum quality. To compare the two methods, correlation and regression analysis of IgG quantification by RID and protein (%) content estimation by MilkoScan FT-plus data was performed using Procedure CORR and Procedure REG of SAS, respectively (version 9.3, SAS Institute Inc., Cary, NC, USA). Thresholds for the classification of good colostrum quality (as determined by RID assay, the gold standard method) were set at 50 g of IgG/L in cows and 20 g of IgG/L in ewes. The concentration of IgG in bovine colostrum assayed by RID showed a variation ranging from 41.45 to 199.97 g/L with an average of 99.85 ± 40.84 g/L at T0, and from 2.83 to 75.93 g/L with an average of 19.76 ± 19.01 g/L at T24. Regarding ovine colostrum, the concentration of IgG assayed by RID ranged from 34.45 to 156.32 g/L with an average value of 77.82 ± 37.58 g/L at T0, and from 5.6 to 69.74 g/L with an average of 27.90 ± 19.81 g/L at T24. Colostrum TP ranged from 3.70 to 23.96% for bovine colostrum and 6.32 to 22.88% for ovine colostrum using MilkoScan FT-plus. MilkoScan FT-plus and RID data were highly and significantly correlated (r = 0.91 for bovine and r = 0.94 for ovine colostrum), and regression analysis showed a strong relationship between IgG concentration provided by RID assay and TP provided by MilkoScan FT-plus (R2 = 0.84 and 0.88 for bovine and ovine, respectively). Optimal cut-off points for the greatest accuracy of TP (%) determined by MilkoScan FT-plus were 12.8% in cows [with 88.9% sensitivity (Se) and 100% specificity (Sp)] and 9% in ewes (with 96.7% Se and 100% Sp). In conclusion, these outcomes indicate that MilkoScan FT-plus as an indirect method may be a reliable tool for the estimation of the total IgG concentration and quality in bovine and ovine colostrum. Moreover, the cut-off levels of 12.8% for bovine and 9% for ovine of TP, seem sufficient to ensure that all poor-quality colostrum can be classified as such, with only a low proportion of good-quality colostrum being misclassified as poor-colostrum, thereby increasing the probability of delivering good-quality colostrum to new-born calves and lambs.
- MilkoScan FT