The objective of this study was to examine variation in overall milk, protein, and mineral composition of bovine milk in relation to rennet-induced coagulation, with the aim of elucidating the underlying causes of milk with impaired coagulation abilities. On the basis of an initial screening of 892 milk samples from 42 herds with Danish Jersey and Holstein-Friesian cows, a subset of 102 samples was selected to represent milk with good, poor, or noncoagulating properties (i.e., samples that within each breed represented the most extremes in regard to coagulation properties). Milk with good coagulation characteristics was defined as milk forming a strong coagulum based on oscillatory rheology, as indicated by high values for maximum coagulum strength (G′max) and curd firming rate (CFR) and a short rennet coagulation time. Poorly coagulating milk formed a weak coagulum, with a low G′max and CFR and a long rennet coagulation time. Noncoagulating milk was defined as milk that failed to form a coagulum, having G′max and CFR values of zero at measurements taken within 1 h after addition of rennet. For both breeds, a lower content of total protein, total casein (CN) and κ-CN, and lower levels of minerals (Ca, P, Mg) were identified in poorly coagulating and noncoagulating milk in comparison with milk with good coagulation properties. Liquid chromatography/electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry revealed the presence of a great variety of genetic variants of the major milk proteins, namely, αS1-CN (variants B and C), αS2-CN (A), β-CN (A1, A2, B, I, and F), κ-CN (A, B, and E), α-lactalbumin (B), and β-lactoglobulin (A, B, and C). In poorly coagulating and noncoagulating milk samples of both breeds, the predominant composite genotype of αS1-, β-, and κ-CN was BB-A2A2-AA, which confirmed a genetic contribution to impaired milk coagulation. Interestingly, subtle variations in posttranslational modification of CN were observed between the coagulation classes in both breeds. Poorly coagulating and noncoagulating milk contained a lower fraction of the least phosphorylated αS1-CN form, αS1-CN 8P, relative to total αS1-CN, along with a lower fraction of glycosylated κ-CN relative to total κ-CN. Thus, apparent variation was observed in the milk and protein composition, in the genetic makeup of the major milk proteins, and in the posttranslational modification level of CN between milk samples with either good or impaired coagulation ability, whereas the composition of poorly coagulating and noncoagulating milk was similar.
Journal of Dairy Science, 2012, Vol 95, Issue 12, p. 6905-6917
rennet-induced milk coagulation; post-translational modification; liquid chromatography; Mass Spectrometry