Dairy cows are given antibiotics as part of a health maintenance programme to protect them from illnesses. However, traces of these antibiotics can sometimes be found in the milk, in turn resulting in expensive product recalls and the risk of serious health problems for humans such as hormonal imbalance, chronic infections and even brain damage.
As a result, the levels of antibiotics permissible in milk are tightly regulated. The EU, for example, has set a Maximum Residue level Limit (MRL) for antibiotics in milk, with the onus on processors to ensure that these limits are not breached. This in turn has led to the development of a measurement system designed to help processors test for antibiotic residues.
DSM's Delvoscan product uses this standard system, but the company claims that the findings can be more accurately and rapidly assessed.
The product is part of the Delvotest system, widely regarded as the definitive testing system for antibiotic residue. It measures acidity levels using a pH indicator which in turn shows the level of antibiotics in the milk.
Delvoscan uses a numeric system to identify the level of acidity from the pH test, a procedure which DSM claims is more efficient than older versions of the test.
"Delvoscan testing is carried out in the same way as previously but colour reflection is measured numerically rather than evaluated by sight. Results are automatically printed out and can also be saved to file for later reference," DSM explained.
The device can be installed on a PC with Delvoscan software, allowing large numbers of samples to be stored on the hard disk.
"Delvoscan ensures accurate readings from cost-effective and simple-to-use antibiotic detection solution. Equipment is fully calibrated prior to delivery and complies with the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) testing standards," the company concluded.