Effect of treatment with formaldehyde and formic acid on immunoglobulin content of stored bovine colostrum
Mbuthia, E W
Gachuiri, C K
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Colostrum was collected from the first postpartum milking of German Black Pied cows. Four independent pools of colostrum were made and the following preservation methods replicated in each pool, viz. formaldehyde treatment, 0.1% (F1) and 0.05% (F2); formic acid treatment, 0.5% (FA1) and 0.1% (FA2) and an untreated control (NF). All the colostrum batches were stored at an average incubation temperature of 28°C in 200-ml plastic bottles. Samples were collected from every batch on Day 0 (before incubation) and subsequently after every week for 4 weeks. All the samples collected were analysed for immunoglobulin (IgG1, IgG2, IgA and IgM) content of the whey fraction using the single radial immunodiffusion (SRID) method. pH was measured using a glass electrode pH meter. Formaldehyde treatment of colostrum maintained almost constant immunoglobulin levels under the conditions of this experiment. There were significant drops in the mean IgG1 (P < 0.0001) and IgM (P < 0.005) contents in the control (NF) and the formic acid treated (FA1 and FA2) colostrum. The levels of IgA and IgG2 remained fairly constant for all treatments and there was no observable trend with storage duration. The pH of formaldehyde treated colostrum remained above 4.8 for the 4 weeks of storage whereas that of the untreated control colostrum dropped to below pH 4.8 in the first 3 days and remained stable to the 4th week. This work has shown that inclusion of formaldehyde at levels as low as 0.05% (wt/vol.) preserves immunoglobulins of colostrum stored at high ambient temperature. The use of formic acid was not beneficial for preservation of colostral immunoglobulins. Thus colostrum preserved with formaldehyde may be of good feeding value for newborn calves whereas that preserved with formic acid may be useful only for older calves.