In vitro inactivation of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) by use of copper ions

Pamela Steuer, Carolina Avilez, Caroline Tejea, N Gonzalez, A Ramirez-Reveco, F Ulloa, A Mella, Irene Grant, Michael Collins, Miguel Salgado

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Background: Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) is the causative agent of paratuberculosis, a contagious infectious disease that affects domestic and wild ruminants causing chronic inflammation of the intestine. MAP has proven to be very resistant to both physical and chemical processes, making it difficult to control this pathogen. Based on the recognized antimicrobial properties of copper, the objective of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of copper ions to reduce MAP numbers and/or MAP viability in a fluid matrix. Besides, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and Escherichia coli were used as controls of the effectiveness of copper ions. MAP-spiked PBS was subjected to copper ions treatment at 24 V for 5 min and the PBS suspensions were sampled before and after treatment. MAP viability and quantification were
determined using three complementary techniques: a phage amplification assay, MGIT culture and qPCR.
Results: Moderate numbers (103 CFU ml−1) of the two control bacteria were completely eliminated by treatment with copper ions. For MAP, copper ions treatment reduced both the viability and numbers of this
pathogen. Phage assay information quickly showed that copper ions (24 V for 5 min) resulted in a significant reduction in viable MAP. MGIT culture results over time showed statistically significant differences in time-to-detection (TTD) values between PRE and POST treatment. MAP genome equivalent estimates for PBS suspensions indicated that MAP numbers were lower in samples POST-treatment with copper ions than PRE-treatment.
Conclusions: The use of copper ions resulted in a significant reduction of MAP in a liquid matrix, although some MAP survival on some occasions was observed.
Original languageEnglish
Article number172
Number of pages7
JournalBMC Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 01 Nov 2018


  • Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP)
  • copper treatment
  • Inactivation
  • milk


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