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Development of a unique means of detecting and proving illegal administration of recombinant somatotropin in dairy cows (Unique-Check)
Start date: 01 Jun 2009, End date: 31 May 2013 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The ability to increase milk production in cow by bovine somatotropin (BST) was first demonstrated in 1930’s. The use of recombinant bovine somatotropin (rBST) in dairy cows has become a common practice in the Untied States (US) and many other countries as the commercial product became available in 1994. However the use and sale of rBST in the EU has never been approved and was banned in 1999 due to concerns on animal health and welfare, food safety and quality, and human health implication associated with the administration of rBST in dairy cows. Nevertheless, there are no direct methods available to date that are capable to detect rBST. The present proposal will, by the use of new technologies and a wide range of expertise, deliver a means of screening and confirming the presence of this unwanted growth promoter in milk. The collaboration within the project will bring together a university, a public institution and two private commercial diagnostic companies to produce novel solutions for monitoring the quality and safety of foods. The proposed research project will give an opportunity of Industry-Academia collaboration that will allow the transfer of high level scientific research into much needed commercial outputs. As a consequence, both academic and industrial partners as well as communities will all benefit, not only during the project but well beyond. The major research outcome will be the delivery of a rapid and simple screening test (dipstick and/or ELISA), a highly accurate and quantitative immuno-biosensor test, and a sensitive and specific chemical confirmatory test for rapid detection and unequivocal identification of the presence of rBST in milk. The formation of partnerships will strengthen the joint efforts to advance research in food safety and quality which benefits ultimately all partners involved, the consumers and the community as a whole.
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