Invention of the University of Tartu obtained European patent


“One of the largest problems for producers of milk is diseases of cows, which affect the quantity and quality of the produced milk. These diseases are usually treated with different antibiotics, which also reach the milk coming from the cow during the treatment period. In order to prevent it from happening and to prevent the residues of medicines from reaching people’s food, the milk from cows being treated is subject to utilization during the treatment as well as the withdrawal period following the treatment, thus causing large losses in production. According to estimations, the annual amount of such spoiled milk is 30,000 tons in Estonia,” leader of the research group, Senior Research Fellow in Colloidal and Environmental Chemistry at UT, Toonika Riken spoke about the problem.

According to Rinken, the invention “On-line system, a method for calibration of this and for simultaneous detection and measuring of concentrations of residues of different antibiotics in milk” developed at the University of Tartu makes it possible to determine the residues of the most used antibiotics in milk during the milking process. “The device makes it possible to detect cases when the level of medicines or their degradation compounds in milk is too high, and thus separate such milk quickly,” said Rinken by adding that so it is possible to avoid contamination of large quantities of milk with residues of medicine, and to improve the quality of the produced milk as well as to save costs related to rejecting contaminated milk inappropriate for production.

The University of Tartu has also filed international applications for patent on another invention by the same working group, which deals with early detection of mastitis on the basis of biomarkers found in milk before formation of a clinical picture of the disease. There is still research going on for quick detection of more important pathogens in milk causing mastitis, which makes it possible to increase the treatment efficiency of animals, and thus significantly decrease the amount of medicines used. Approximately 10 tons of antibiotics a year are used for the treatment of animals in Estonia, purely based on active substance.

The above-mentioned inventions received two silver medals at a Korean international exhibition of women inventors in spring.

Additional information: Toonika Rinken, Senior Research Fellow in Colloidal and Environmental Chemistry at UT, leader of the research group, phone: 737 5167; e-mail:; Siim Kinnas, Head of Intellectual Property Unit at University of Tartu, phone 520 4864, e-mail: siim.kinnas@ut.eeInvention of the University of Tartu obtained European patent.

(Original article published by University of Tartu)

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