Project: New device for analyzing the normality and cell contents of milk during or shortly after the milking.

Udder inflammation (mastitis) is, without competition, the most common disease among dairy cows and causes great economic losses to the sector, worldwide (e.g. in Sweden far more than 50 million Euro/year). It is therefore necessary to detect mastitis early. An instrument for measuring the quality of milk locally in dairy production as well as in research and development applications is, thus, of significant importance and will have substantial economic influence. _x000D__x000D_Mastitis is causing alterations that deteriorate the milk quality. Most mastitis cases are not associated with visible symptoms but must be detected through measuring the milk cell count._x000D__x000D_Cell count of milk is today the most commonly used and validated indicator of mastitis and udder health in general and also a significant milk quality parameter. It is, however, a fairly blunt measure, which regularly results in rejection of milk of acceptable quality with negative economic consequences for the producer._x000D__x000D_This project aims at developing a demonstration model of a new device for analyzing milk during or shortly after the milking. The device shall be able to measure a sample of the milk in a measuring chamber, which is automatically cleaned between each use. The device will be suitable for various purposes:_x000D_• As an integrated part of an automatic milking system_x000D_• In research environments_x000D_• For measurements in conventional milking machines_x000D__x000D_The following functionality is desired in each measurement:_x000D_• Detection of the concentration of somatic cells (white blood cells)_x000D_• Differentiation between various types of somatic cells_x000D_• Detection of abnormal milk_x000D__x000D_Major challenges to overcome during the project_x000D_• Separation/handling of fat in the milk to avoid poor image quality_x000D_• Design of measuring chamber for continuous measurements, which is cleanable between each measurement_x000D_• Definition of "abnormal milk"_x000D_• Algorithms for differentiating between somatic cells in milk_x000D_• Design of mechanics and electronics that will work in "tough" barn environments_x000D__x000D_Project milestones_x000D_• The Proof of Concept Milestone will include a set of Requirements for the complete device based on definitions of somatic cell type characteristics and abnormal milk._x000D_• The Functional Model Milestone will include a number of functional models and a set of detailed Requirement Specifications for each technological area of the device._x000D_• The Prototype Milestone will include a number of complete prototypes that are used for on-site tests under barn conditions._x000D__x000D_Within 2 years after the project conclusion, a device for differential count of somatic cells in automatic milking machines will be ready for the market._x000D__x000D_The consortium is well suited for this project in terms of skills and competencies:_x000D_• Unisensor has an instrument platform including optical measuring technology for liquid samples and has knowledge about measurement and analysis of white blood cells from earlier projects based on human blood. Furthermore, Unisensor has project management capabilities from several similar international projects and has well established prototype production facilities._x000D_• Jelmtech has wide knowledge about construction of plastic measuring chambers and has experience in many types of mechanical plastic constructions, including advanced measuring setups and packaging for tough environments._x000D_• DeLaval has essential knowledge about market needs and end users and has connections and establishments for field test and for sales, when the product is ready for market introduction._x000D_• SLU has expert knowledge about milk biology, udder pathology, and milk cell identification and differentiation, which is essential for assessing the accuracy of the cell counting and differentiation method in the project. SLU has participated in several similar projects and has a vast experience from research about milk cells and their characteristics._x000D__x000D_Together the participants form a very strong unit which covers all aspects of a successful project group.

Acronym UniLatte (Reference Number: 5222)
Duration 01/04/2011 - 31/03/2013
Project Topic The device shall be able to measure and differentiate between various types of somatic cells and detect abnormal milk._x000D_ It shall be installed in milking machines to enable an on-farm detection of milk and udder health problems, and it will additionally be very beneficial for research purposes.
Project Results
(after finalisation)
The CO innovative aspect of the project, to develop milk cell differentiation based on an optical 3D-technology, was successfully accomplished!_x000D__x000D_A functional model of a system to be integrated in an automatic milking system has been developed and tested. The model is able to:_x000D_• Count somatic cells with a high precision (<5%)_x000D_• Count somatic cells differentially with a high precision (<10%)_x000D_• Identify abnormal milk _x000D__x000D_A new definition of abnormal milk, based on the count of differential cells, has been developed, but not thoroughly tested._x000D__x000D_DeLaval has filed a patent application based on the “Turning Torso” principle for preparing a milk sample for optical analysis.
Network Eurostars
Call Eurostars Cut-Off 3

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
4 Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Dept. of Clinical Sciences Partner Sweden
4 Jelmtech Produktutveckling AB Partner Sweden
4 DeLaval International AB Partner Sweden
4 Unisensor A/S Coordinator Denmark