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Seasonal variations in composition, properties, and heat-induced changes in bovine milk in a seasonal calving system

Li, Siqi, Ye, Aiqian, Singh, Harjinder
Journal of dairy science 2019 v.102 no.9 pp. 7747-7759
UHT milk, UHT treatment, blood serum, buffering capacity, calcium, calving, dissociation, ethanol, glycosylation, herds, kappa-casein, lactalbumin, lactation, lactose, micelles, milk, milking, pH, protein content, protein denaturation, seasonal variation, somatic cell count, whey, whey protein, New Zealand
We determined seasonal variations in the composition and characteristics of bovine milk, as well as heat-induced changes in the physicochemical properties of the milk, in a typical seasonal-calving New Zealand herd over 2 full milking seasons. Fat, protein, and lactose contents varied consistently during the year in patterns similar to those of the lactation cycle. Seasonality also had significant effects on milk calcium, ionic calcium, fat globule size, buffering capacity, and ethanol stability, but not on casein micelle size. The ratio of casein to total protein did not vary significantly over the season, but late-season milk had the highest content of glycosylated κ-casein (G-κ-CN) and the lowest content of α-lactalbumin in both years. We observed significant between-year effects on protein, total calcium, ionic calcium, pH, and casein:total protein ratio, which might have resulted from different somatic cell counts in the 2 years. Compared with heating at 90°C for 6 min, UHT treatment (140°C for 5 s) induced greater dissociation of κ-casein, a similar extent of whey protein denaturation, a lower extent of whey protein–casein micelle association, and a larger increase in casein micelle size. Indeed, UHT treatment might have triggered significant dissociation of G-κ-CN, resulting in aggregation among the casein micelles and increased apparent mean casein micelle diameter. Seasonality had significant effects on the partitioning of G-κ-CN between the micelle and the serum phase, the extent of whey protein–casein micelle association under both heating conditions, and the casein micelle size of the UHT milk.