Congratulations to Professor Greg Cook and his team, who have received a $1,681,443 programme grant over three years to develop ''next-generation sanitisers for the control of bovine mastitis in the dairy industry''.
The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) fund invests in science that is designed to help New Zealand economically, environmentally and socially over the next 10 years.
Professor Cook is one of three University of Otago principal researchers who received large programme grants. A further three researchers received funding through the fund's Smart Ideas category.
“Mastitis is a bacterial infection of the udder and is the foremost production limiting disease for dairying worldwide, costing the New Zealand dairy industry over $280M pa in treatment and discarded milk. Mastitis is controlled through the use of teat sprays containing bioactive ingredients such as chlorhexidine. Chlorhexidine is also widely used for infection control in hospitals all over the world in hand and pre-surgical skin sanitisers. Mounting concerns around antimicrobial resistance mean that new, non-medical sanitisers are urgently required to manage mastitis and protect both New Zealand’s dairy industry and healthcare system from rising antimicrobial resistance. Our research aims to deliver new sanitisers by identifying, developing and testing naturally derived compounds that inhibit mastitis-causing bacteria using the micronutrient zinc. Zinc is important in the human immune response and is known to have potent anti-infective qualities. We will develop compounds that efficiently move zinc into bacterial cells, where it will exert its antimicrobial action, whilst remaining harmless to mammalian cells. These novel, non-medical compounds will pave the way for new teat-spray formulations, protecting New Zealand dairy herds from mastitis.”