The REVALLET project seeks to revalue waste milk from dairy farms

Is it possible to remove antibiotics from waste/discarded milk?

An innovative system based on enzymatic nanoparticles will be used to remove traces of antibiotics from the milk of cows that have been treated against infections. The objective is to reuse it as a product with high nutritional value for calves and prevent the generation of resistance to antibiotics. 

Milk from dairy cows that are under antibiotic treatment for infections in the mammary gland, known as waste milk, cannot be marketed. To put it to use, it is necessary to treat this milk to eliminate the antibiotic residues it contains and prevent the appearance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, something that has become a threat to global health, affecting both animals and humans. 

For this reason, the demonstration project "REVALLET: Revaluation of waste milk through the degradation of antibiotic residues with enzymatic nanoparticles", financed by the Department of Climate Action, Food and Rural Agenda of the Generalitat of Catalonia, aims to demonstrate to the sector that waste milk can be revalued through an innovative mechanism that eliminates antibiotic residues. It is an easy to implement, effective and economical system, based on enzymatic nanoparticles that degrade these waste milk residues and convert it into milk suitable for feeding calves.

To achieve this objective, the IRTA Ruminant Production research team will produce enzymatic nanoparticles of beta-lactamase in the laboratory, an enzyme that can inactivate antibiotics from the beta-lactam family (penicillins, cephalosporins, monobactams and carbapenems). In a later phase, they will treat waste milk from three different farms in the province of Girona and compare the presence of antibiotic residues present in the waste milk before and after treatment with the nanoparticles.

Double benefit for production

Treating waste milk and removing antibiotic residues is also a beneficial practice for farms. On the one hand, recurrent and difficult-to-remove infections are avoided, often caused by multi-resistant bacteria. On the other hand, the fact of reusing the treated waste milk to feed the calves promotes the circular economy of the farms so that the by-products are reused, thus achieving better growth and productivity of the calves, both for fattening and for milk production, thanks to the high nutritional value of the milk.

(Institute for Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA)

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