How Ceftiofur Affects The Fermentation Of Milk


The presence of antibiotics in milk may inhibit acidification and affect cheesemaking processes. 

β-lactams are widely used in ovine therapy, and if their residues were to reach milk destined to be cheese, they could harm people’s health. This situation can be prevented by using routine controls and by observing the Maximal Residue Limits (MRLs) as per European Union norms. It is assumed that if MRLs are safe for consumers, then they will also be safe for the correct development of dairy fermentation processes. 

However, for the cheese industry the presence of antibiotics could perhaps present a problem for lactic acid bacteria by stopping or slowing down their growth and their acid production (Packham et al., 2001).

Experiments have been carried out in order to know how concentrations near to the Maximal Residue Limits (MRLs) could affect the process of fermentation.

The conclusions of the first study [2008 Society of Dairy Technology] are that the presence of cephalexin at levels equal or inferior to 150 μg/kg (1.5 times the MRL) did not cause significant effects on the fall of pH during the incubation of yogurt made from ewe milk. In contrast, the parent molecule of ceftiofur at any studied concentration, even under legally admissible concentrations (MRL), provoked significant delays in the pH evolution.


In a second paper [Special Issue of the International Dairy Federation], it is shown that during the cheese manufacture, the presence of ewe milk spiked with β-lactams at the corresponding MRL concentration provoked delays in pH decrease, which were only significant in the presence of ceftiofur.

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