The dairy farm environment and animals on the farm serve as important reservoirs of pathogenic and commensal bacteria that could potentially gain access to milk in the bulk tank via several pathways. Pathogenic gram-negative bacteria can gain access to bulk tank milk from infected mammary glands, contaminated udders and milking machines, and/or from the dairy farm environment. Contaminated raw milk when consumed by humans or fed to animals on the farm can result in gastroenteric infections in humans and animals and also provide an opportunity for organisms to colonize the farm environment. This scenario becomes much more complicated when pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli, and commensal gram-negative enteric bacteria encode for antimicrobial resistance determinants. In recent years, the role of commensal bacteria as reservoirs of genetic determinants for antimicrobial resistance has come under closer scrutiny. Commensal bacteria in bulk tank milk can be a significant reservoir of antimicrobial determinants. Raw milk consumption can result in exposure to antimicrobial-resistant commensal gram-negative bacteria. This paper examines the prevalence and role of commensal gram-negative enteric bacteria in bulk tank milk and their public health significance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Animal Science and Zoology