Mastitis, somatic cell count, and its impact on dairy-product quality… An omission in Colombia?: a review


  • David S. Riveros-Galán University of Tolima
  • Mónica Obando-Chaves University of Tolima



dairy, dairy industry, dairy cattle, dairy products, mammary gland, mastitis etiology, milk derivatives, milk products, milk quality, raw milk, somatic cell count, udder


Mastitis is the most common disease in dairy herds and the main cause of economic losses in milk production worldwide. This inflammatory reaction of the mammary gland affects the quantity, composition and quality of milk produced and its suitability for the dairy industry. Despite of its importance, Colombia has no regulations on somatic cell count (SCC); that is, no official upper limits have been established for the dairy industry. The current quality-based payment system for raw milk does not encourage local producers to reduce the level of somatic cells. Consequently, Colombia is at a disadvantage compared to countries that include this parameter in their payment schemes and subscribe to international free trade agreements, affecting the competitiveness of the Colombian dairy sector. This article reviews the types of somatic cells, the microbiology of mastitis, its etiology and diagnosis, the changes that generate the composition of milk, and the impact of high SCCs on the quality of dairy products, such as yogurt, cheese, and milk powder. The final section offers a reflection on the problem of high SCCs in Colombia and the lack of regulations in this regard.

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Author Biographies

David S. Riveros-Galán, University of Tolima
Faculty of Agronomic Engineering, Department of Production and Plant Health, Agroindustrial Engineering Program, University of Tolima, Ibagué, Tolima (Colombia).


Mónica Obando-Chaves, University of Tolima
Faculty of Agronomic Engineering, Department of Plant Production and Health, Agroindustrial Engineering Program, University of Tolima, Ibagué, Tolima (Colombia).


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How to Cite

Riveros-Galán, D. S., & Obando-Chaves, M. (2020). Mastitis, somatic cell count, and its impact on dairy-product quality… An omission in Colombia?: a review. Revista Colombiana De Ciencias Pecuarias, 34(4), 241–253.



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