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Somalyser MK


(Lactotronic B.V. Netherlands)

Somalyser – Somatic Cell Counter

Somatic cells (predominantly white blood cells of the cow) are usually present in raw cow milk. However the concentration of those can indicate whether the cow suffers a mastitis infection. During an infection the number of somatic cells increases due to the reaction of the immune system of the animal. Therefore the Somatic Cell Count (SCC) is seen as one of the main indicators of milk quality and is quantified by number of cells per ml of milk. Hence, the higher the SCC the lower the milk quality.

The Somalyser MK 1 counts these somatic cells in milk in order to determine the hygienic quality of milk and thus to conclude the status of animal health. The instrument contains a fluorescence flow cytometer, which is accurately counting the number of cells.

Initially the operator manually takes a sample of cow milk with a small pipette, then feds it into an analysis tube and finally dilutes it with staining solution. Using this staining solution, the DNA of the somatic cells in a milk sample is stained for analysis preparation purposes. Afterwards the prepared milk sample in the analysis tube is supplied to the Somalyser that is easily operated with a touch screen.

At the beginning of the process, the Somalyser takes a small sample from the previously stained milk sample and passes it through the flow cell. During the measurement, the flow cytometer dilutes the sample by means of the sheath flow. Thereby, the addition of water ensures the dilution of the sample and the separation of the individual cells. Fundamentally the working principle is based on light with a certain wavelength, which is targeted on the cell flow. By passing the flow cell the stained somatic cell is causing a fluorescence light pulse. In doing so a corresponding detector registers the light pulse and in this way counts the number of cells passing by. As a result the number of cells per milliliter is calculated by multiplication of the number of detected cells and the dilution factor.

Eventually the built-in screen is showing a relative histogram, which presents the real value of counted pulses registered by the detector as well as the actual cell count per milliliter. It is to be noticed that the measuring range of the Somalyser extends from 0 to more than 1,000,000 cells per ml. Furthermore the results can be printed and sent to a connected computer.