The addition of human milk components with intrinsic antimicrobial activity to livestock milk by genetic engineering has the potential to benefit milk safety and production as well as the health of the lactating animal. As a model for the dairy cow, we generated transgenic goats that expressed human lysozyme in their milk at 68% of the levels found in human milk. Milk from these transgenic animals had a bacteriostatic effect on both in vitro and in vivo growth of several microorganisms important to the dairy industry. In vitro, milk from transgenic animals was capable of slowing the growth of mastitis-causing strains of Escherichia coli (P < 0.02) and Staphylococcus aureus (P < 0.05) as well as the cold-spoilage organism Pseudomonas fragi (P < 0.02). The growth of an organism involved in cheese-making, Lactococcus lactis, was not affected by the presence of lysozyme in milk. The supplementation of control milk with purified lysozyme did not achieve the same inhibitory effect as milk from transgenic animals. In vivo, milk from transgenic animals supported less bacterial growth than control milk. This transgenic model demonstrates the possibilities offered by genetic engineering to enhance the antimicrobial nature of milk and the udder.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
- Infectious Diseases
- Food Science