China University of Agriculture and NWU Mafikeng Campus join forces on research
The China University of Agriculture (CUA) and the Animal Health Centre at the Mafikeng Campus of the North-West University (NWU) recently joined forces on a research project focusing on mastitis and aflatoxin.
The aim of the research project is to identify and compare bacteria strains causing mastitis in both countries as well as to study the role of aflatoxins in the occurrence of mastitis in cattle.
Prof Han Bo, a veterinarian and professor of internal medicine at CUA, recently visited the NWU as part of a collaboration programme between the two universities. The programme is funded by the China Department of Science and Technology and the South African National Research Foundation. Prof Bo is working closely with Dr Mulunda Mwanza from the campus to do research on bacteria causing mastitis and the influence of aflatoxins in milk.
A number of different fungi can produce toxic compounds referred to as mycotoxins. Aflatoxins are certain forms of mycotoxins produced under certain conditions which can be found in animal feeds and human foods. Dairy cattle consuming feeds with high aflatoxin levels may eat less, have a decrease in milk production and immunity and show slow growth. When consuming these feeds, some of the aflatoxin can be excreted in the milk which may lead to liver cancer and other liver damage in humans. It also suppresses the human immune system and interferes with the proper use of nutrients.
With this research collaboration the NWU strives to contribute to supplying innovative solutions to challenges in the country and beyond.