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Effect of heat and homogenization on in vitro digestion of milk

Tunick, Michael H., Ren, Daxi X., Van Hekken, Diane L., Bonnaillie, Laetitia, Paul, Moushumi, Kwoczak, Raymond, Tomasula, Peggy M.
Journal of dairy science 2016 v.99 no.6 pp. 4124-4139
UHT treatment, casein, creaming, digestibility, digestion, droplets, fasting, fatty acids, fluid milk, food processing, free fatty acids, heat, high-temperature short-time pasteurization, homogenization, homogenized milk, in vitro digestion, lactalbumin, milk quality, models, pancreatin, pepsin, peptides, shelf life, skim milk, surface area, temperature, triacylglycerols, whey protein, whole milk, zeta potential
Central to commercial fluid milk processing is the use of high temperature, short time (HTST) pasteurization to ensure the safety and quality of milk, and homogenization to prevent creaming of fat-containing milk. Ultra-high-temperature sterilization is also applied to milk and is typically used to extend the shelf life of refrigerated, specialty milk products or to provide shelf-stable milk. The structures of the milk proteins and lipids are affected by processing but little information is available on the effects of the individual processes or sequences of processes on digestibility. In this study, raw whole milk was subjected to homogenization, HTST pasteurization, and homogenization followed by HTST or UHT processing. Raw skim milk was subjected to the same heating regimens. In vitro gastrointestinal digestion using a fasting model was then used to detect the processing-induced changes in the proteins and lipids. Using sodium dodecyl sulfate-PAGE, gastric pepsin digestion of the milk samples showed rapid elimination of the casein and α-lactalbumin bands, persistence of the β-lactoglobulin bands, and appearance of casein and whey peptide bands. The bands for β-lactoglobulin were eliminated within the first 15min of intestinal pancreatin digestion. The remaining proteins and peptides of raw, HTST, and UHT skim samples were digested rapidly within the first 15min of intestinal digestion, but intestinal digestion of raw and HTST pasteurized whole milk showed some persistence of the peptides throughout digestion. The availability of more lipid droplets upon homogenization, with greater surface area available for interaction with the peptides, led to persistence of the smaller peptide bands and thus slower intestinal digestion when followed by HTST pasteurization but not by UHT processing, in which the denatured proteins may be more accessible to the digestive enzymes. Homogenization and heat processing also affected the ζ-potential and free fatty acid release during intestinal digestion. Stearic and oleic acids were broken down faster than other fatty acids due to their positions on the outside of the triglyceride molecule. Five different casein phosphopeptide sequences were observed after gastric digestion, and 31 sequences were found after intestinal digestion, with activities yet to be explored. Processing affects milk structure and thus digestion and is an important factor to consider in design of foods that affect health and nutrition.