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Australian milk fat—Seasonal and regional variation of melting properties

Versteeg, Cornelis, Logan, Amy, Müller, Warren
Journal of dairy science 2016 v.99 no.4 pp. 2571-2587
bulk milk, lipid content, lipids, melting, milk, milk fat, milk production, multidimensional scaling, seasonal variation, temperature, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania
The solid fat content and dropping point of milk fat obtained over 2yr and from 19 bulk milk production sites across Australia were characterized. Solid fat content at 5°C and 20°C, respectively, ranged between 49.9 and 66.1% and between 14.6 and 29.6% across all sites. Dropping point ranged between 30.5 and 35.4°C. The dropping point did not correlate with solid fat content at lower temperatures across several sites, indicating that it is not an accurate or useful measure of functionality at temperatures of 15°C or below. Although at times, considerable variation was observed in milk fat melting properties between sites located in similar geographic regions, statistical analysis by means of boxplots and multidimensional scaling revealed broad similarities within regions over the 24mo. Multidimensional scaling also revealed similarities between some quite distant and diverse regions (e.g., Queensland and South Australia with constant and seasonal production, respectively). These analyses were used to make 5 groups from the 19 sites to describe seasonal melting properties. The groups with sites in west Victoria, southeast Victoria, and Tasmania showed the largest seasonal variation and range of values, with peaks and lows in southeast Victoria and Tasmania occurring up to 3mo later than in west Victoria. The group with sites in New South Wales, Queensland, and South Australia had the least variation and range of values, which were relatively high throughout. The group with Western Australian sites showed medium levels of variation but distinct seasonal patterns, with solids fats typically below and dropping points higher than the national average. The Victorian group’s lows in dropping point occurred about 2mo later than did the low values of solid fat content. No single factor stood out as determining the variation in melting properties.