Mastitis is a common disease in dairy cattle throughout the world and causes considerable economic losses each year. An important aetiological agent of this disease is bacteria of the genus Streptococcus; hence, exploring the mechanisms of virulence in these bacteria is an extremely important step for the development of effective prevention programmes. The purpose of our study was to determine the ability to produce biofilm and the occurrence of selected invasiveness factors among bacteria of the genus Streptococcus isolated from cattle with the clinical form of mastitis in northeastern Poland.
Most of the isolates analysed demonstrated an ability to produce biofilm (over 70%). Virulence genes were searched for in the three most common streptococci in our experiment: S. agalactiae, S. uberis and S. dysgalactiae. For S. agalactiae, only four genes were confirmed: rib (33%), cylE (78%), bca (37%), and cfb (100%). The genes pavA, scpB, bac and lmb were not present in any of the tested strains. The dominant serotypes of the species were Ia (n = 8) and II (n = 8), in addition to some strains that were not classified in any of the groups (n = 6). Out of the eight selected genes for S. uberis (sua, pauA/skc, gapC, cfu, lbp, hasA, hasB, hasC), only one was not found (lbp). Finally, two genes were chosen for S. dysgalactiae (eno and napr), and their presence was confirmed in 76% and 86% of the strains, respectively.
The experiment showed that strains of Streptococcus spp. isolated from dairy cattle with clinical cases of mastitis in the northeastern part of Poland possess several invasiveness factors that can substantially affect the course of the disease, and this should be considered when developing targeted prevention programmes.