Research Highlight

Herbal drug to prevent antimicrobial resistance in cattle

doi:10.1038/nindia.2018.98 Published online 30 July 2018

An experimental goat at the WBUAFS.

© T. K. Sar

When cattle are given antibiotics to treat mastitis – a bacterial inflammation of the mammary glands – their milk retains the antibiotics for a long time, increasing the probability of antimicrobial resistance (AMR). Now researchers at West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences (WBUAFS) report how to overcome this problem with a known polyherbal drug1.

Experimenting with Bengal goats, the researchers have shown that a commercially available mammary protective polyherbal drug (fibrosin), when given alongside the antibiotics, can prevent antimicrobial resistance.

Mastitis leads to reduced milk yield in goats, cows and buffaloes. It is not only a major concern for the dairy industry but also a public health menace. The bactericide ceftriaxone used to treat affected cattle gets converted in their liver into an active metabolite called ceftizoxime, another third generation bactericide excreted in their milk for a prolonged period following treatment.

The researchers report that when the polyherbal drug fibrosin was injected in mastitic goats one hour before ceftriaxone, the milk concentration of ceftizoxime decreased significantly. All the mastitic goats recovered completely from all clinical signs.

The findings suggest that the polyherbal drug not only increased the bioavailability of ceftizoxime in milk, but also helped eliminate it much faster than in a control group of goats that did not receive fibrosin.

Since persistence of antibiotics for a prolonged period in milk triggers antimicrobial resistance (AMR), the polyherbal drug could be used as a supportive therapy to treat sensitive bacterial infections in cattle to minimise development of AMR, the authors say.


1. Sar, T. K. et al. Potential of a polyherbal drug to prevent antimicrobial resistance in bacteria to antibiotics. Sci. Rep. 8, 10899 (2018)