Using portable VOC Analysis to give rapid and early detection of paraTB and Bovine TB infections in Cattle



RoboScientific has been working with research partners to confirm the feasibility of using our VOC analysers to give a rapid on-site dtermination of the cattle in a dairy herd which are clear of paraTB; those that are infected and, most importantly those that are carriers of the disease whilst giving no indication of any infection. The early results are very encouraging and a rapid diagnostic tool for vets is now under development.



Research bodies and other interested parties interested in participating in this work are urged to contact the company to discuss the project.




In the UK the topic of cattle herds being infected with bovine TB is rarely out of the newspapers such is the devastation that can be caused to farming businesses by such infections. Some researchers now estimate that more than 50 million cattle are infected with Mycobacterium bovis worldwide; the potential for huge economic losses is high. Currently the diagnosis of tuberculosis in cattle is done by tuberculin skin testing.
However the continued failure to eradicate bovine TB in the UK is probably due to a reservoir of the infection in badgers although this cannot be quantified as these animals can only be tested after death. The badger and its sett are protected under legislation in the UK and so an accurate in vitro test for badgers is needed urgently to determine the true extent of the reservoir of infection cheaply and without harming badgers. For cattle it would also be desirable to have a rapid, inexpensive on-farm test to complement the existing tests.


Work has been done to evaluate our VOC sampling & analysis technology to diagnose infection in cattle or badgers with M. bovis, using a serum sample. Samples were taken from both experimentally infected badgers and cattle, as well as naturally infected badgers. In every case our instruments were able to discriminate infected animals from controls as early as 3 weeks after infection with M. bovis. The use of RoboScientific instruments offers outstanding potential as a sensitive, rapid, and cost-effective means of diagnosing bovine TB infections in cattle and badgers.