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Variation of Detailed Protein Composition of Cow Milk Predicted from a Large Database of Mid-Infrared Spectra

Department of Agronomy, Food, Natural Resources, Animals and Environment, University of Padova, Viale dell’Università 16, 35020 Legnaro (PD), Italy
Associazione Nazionale Allevatori della Razza Frisona e Jersey Italiana, Via Bergamo 292, 26100 Cremona, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(4), 176;
Received: 22 February 2019 / Revised: 4 April 2019 / Accepted: 15 April 2019 / Published: 18 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Section Cattle)
PDF [2273 KB, uploaded 18 April 2019]

Simple Summary

Milk proteins are one of the most valuable milk components. The objective of the present study was to assess sources of variation of detailed protein composition predicted from infrared spectra in milk of dairy and dual-purpose cattle breeds. Results showed that protein fractions were primarily influenced by days in milk, and the relative proportion of each fraction through lactation was not constant. Protein fractions correlated with crude protein, total casein, fat and milk urea nitrogen. In perspective, mid-infrared predictions of milk fractions could be useful for the dairy sector to improve nutritional and technological properties of milk.


This study aimed to investigate factors affecting protein fractions, namely α-casein (α-CN), β-casein (β-CN), κ-casein (κ-CN), β-lactoglobulin (β-LG) and α-lactalbumin (α-LA) predicted from milk infrared spectra in milk of dairy and dual-purpose cattle breeds. The dataset comprised 735,328 observations from 49,049 cows in 1782 herds. Results highlighted significant differences of protein fractions in milk of the studied breeds. Significant variations of protein fractions were found also through parities and lactation, with the latter thoroughly influencing protein fractions percentage. Interesting correlations (r) were estimated between β-CN, κ-CN and β-LG, expressed as percentage of crude protein, and milk urea nitrogen (r = 0.31, −0.20 and −0.26, respectively) and between α-LA and fat percentage (r = 0.41). The present study paves the way for future studies on the associations between protein fractions and milk technological properties, and for the estimation of genetic parameters of predicted protein composition. View Full-Text
Keywords: parity; days in milk; lactation; casein; lactoglobulin parity; days in milk; lactation; casein; lactoglobulin

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Franzoi, M.; Niero, G.; Visentin, G.; Penasa, M.; Cassandro, M.; De Marchi, M. Variation of Detailed Protein Composition of Cow Milk Predicted from a Large Database of Mid-Infrared Spectra. Animals 2019, 9, 176.

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