This technical research communication describes the first study to use quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) to investigate the presence of Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC) in Australian pasteurised milk. MAC is the most common NTM responsible for human illnesses and includes M. avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). MAC is a causative agent of lymphadenitis in children, with contaminated food and water considered as a likely source. As such the presence of MAC in milk would have public health significance. MAP has been linked to Crohn's disease and is also the causative agent of Johne's disease in cattle. Previous studies have detected MAP in pasteurised milk from Brazil, India, Czech Republic, USA, Argentina, UK, Iran, Ireland and the United Kingdom. This study investigated a total of 180 commercially available Australian pasteurised milk samples which were tested for MAC DNA in triplicate using PCR. All samples were negative for MAC DNA. An additional 14 milk samples were tested, incubated for 3 weeks at 37 °C to potentially increase the concentration of any viable MAC that may be present and then retested. All samples were again negative for MAC DNA. This could be due to concentrations below the limit of detection, limited sample size or could be reflective of the Australian biosecurity control protocols and surveillance of Johne's disease in ruminant animals.
- Crohn's disease
- Mycobacterium avium complex (MAC)
- Mycobacterium avium paratuberculosis (MAP)
- Public health