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Lactoferrin, lysozyme and the lactoperoxidase-thiocyanate-peroxide-system are naturally occurring antimicrobial components of milk. The objective of this study was to examine, whether these components were responsible for negative results, when mastitis milk is cultured microbiologically. Quarter milk samples from 75 cows with clinical mastitis on a dairy farm in Brandenburg were submitted for microbiological culture and analysed for the content and the activities of the three components. Animals from all stages of lactation with clinical mastitis were included in the study. Animals were examined clinically and milk samples were collected prior to first treatment. Secretions from quarters with clinical mastitis were compared to those of neighbouring quarters without clinical mastitis. Secretions with positive cultural results were compared to those with negative results. The concentrations or activities of the three factors were significantly higher in the diseased quarters than in the quarters without clinical signs of mastitis. The concentration of lysozyme increased with severity of the clinical signs (local swelling and changes in secretion). The concentration of lactoferrin was significantly higher in quarters with slight alterations of glandular tissue than in quarters with medium or severe alterations (P < 0.05). LPS-activities did not correlate with the severity of clinical signs. No differences in the concentration of lactoferrin or LPS-activities were seen between mastitis with positive and negative culture results. The concentration of lysozyme was even higher in culturally positive samples than in negative samples (P < 0.05). Results from this study indicate that the three factors examined did not impair the results of microbiological culture of milk samples from quarters with clinical mastitis.