Biosens4PrecisionMastitis aims to develop new diagnostic tools for the detection of bovine mastitis at the early stages of the disease, by targeting biomarkers of the early immune response of cows, which are present in milk. The project harnesses innovative biosensing technology to enable diagnosis through non-invasive and stress-free milk biopsies, and thus facilitate technology adoption.
Biosens4PrecisionMastitis key points:
- First, identification and validation of a panel of host immune-derived biomarkers present at the early stages of the disease, which will include miRNAs, cytokines and antimicrobial peptides.
- Second, the identification of the distinct biomarker signature will be performed in milk collected from a herd in a natural setting, instead of using animal models.
- Third, advances in biosensing technology will facilitate direct and label-free detection by using materials fit-for-purpose that feature nanochannels where biomarker binding takes place causing a partial blockage that can be easily measured via electrochemical measurements.
- Forth, direct and label-free detection is key to design a miniaturised point-of-care device, easy to operate on farm by non-trained personnel, outside laboratory environments, and enabling high frequency readings thanks to its low cost and simple use.
- Fifth, the sensor array targeting the identified panel of biomarkers will be integrated into a lab-on-a-chip device for its implementation into existing milking infrastructures, to perform non-invasive and stress-free “milk biopsies” on-site, in near-to-real time, at a low cost and by harnessing readily available equipment. These tools will support constant animal surveillance to identify actionable cases and guide farmer’s intervention.