Detection of human torque teno virus in the milk of water buffaloes (Bubalus bubalis)

S. Roperto, O. Paciello, F. Paolini, U. Pagnini, E. Palma, R. di Palo, V. Russo, F. Roperto, A. Venuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Forty-four raw milk and 15 serum samples from 44 healthy water buffaloes reared in Caserta, southern Italy, the most important region in Europe for buffalo breeding, were examined to evaluate the presence of Torque teno viruses (TTV) using molecular tools. Furthermore, 8 pooled pasteurized milk samples (from dairy factories having excellent sanitary conditions) and 6 Mozzarella cheese samples were also tested. Four of the cheese samples were commercial Mozzarella cheese; the remaining 2 were prepared with TTV-containing milk. Human TTV were detected and confirmed by sequencing in 7 samples of milk (approximately 16%). No TTV were found in serum, pooled pasteurized milk, or Mozzarella cheese samples. The samples of Mozzarella cheese prepared with TTV-containing milk did not show any presence of TTV, which provides evidence that standard methodological procedures to prepare Mozzarella cheese seem to affect viral structure, making this food fit for human consumption. The 7 TTV species from water buffaloes were identified as genotypes corresponding to the tth31 (3 cases), sle 1981, sle 2031, and NLC030 (2 cases each) human isolates. Although cross-species infection may occur, detection of TTV DNA in milk but not in serum led us to believe that its presence could be due to human contamination rather than a true infection. Finally, the mode of transmission of TTV has not been determined. Contaminated of the food chain with TTV may be a potential risk for hu-man health, representing one of the multiple routes of infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5928-5932
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2009


  • Milk
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Torque teno virus
  • Water buffalo

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Food Science
  • Genetics


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