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Open AccessArticle

Prediction of Milk Coagulation Properties and Individual Cheese Yield in Sheep Using Partial Least Squares Regression

1
Dipartimento di Agraria, Sezione di Scienze Zootecniche, Università degli Studi di Sassari, Viale Italia 39, 07100 Sassari, Italy
2
Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie Alimentari e Forestali, Università di Torino, 10095 Grugliasco, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Animals 2019, 9(9), 663; https://doi.org/10.3390/ani9090663
Received: 3 July 2019 / Revised: 2 September 2019 / Accepted: 5 September 2019 / Published: 7 September 2019
Considered that all sheep milk in Italy is destined for cheese processing, traits describing rennet coagulation aptitude should be among the most important selection goals for dairy breeds. To reduce the costs and logistics related to the large-scale recording of these traits, mid-infrared (MIR) spectroscopy could be conveniently used to generate reliable predictions without any additional cost. The aims of this research were to predict the milk coagulation properties (MCP) and individual cheese yield (ILCY) in sheep by MIR spectrometry using partial least squares regression (PLS), and to compare different data pre-treatment procedures. The prediction results observed in the present study, although moderate, suggest the possibility of adding novel phenotypes (e.g., MCP and ILCY) in breeding schemes for dairy sheep breeds. Mid-infrared spectroscopy coupled with PLS regression could allow the prediction of phenotypes at the population level without additional costs.
The objectives of this study were (i) the prediction of sheep milk coagulation properties (MCP) and individual laboratory cheese yield (ILCY) from mid-infrared (MIR) spectra by using partial least squares (PLS) regression, and (ii) the comparison of different data pre-treatments on prediction accuracy. Individual milk samples of 970 Sarda breed ewes were analyzed for rennet coagulation time (RCT), curd-firming time (k20), and curd firmness (a30) using the Formagraph instrument; ILCY was measured by micro-manufacturing assays. An Furier-transform Infrared (FTIR) milk-analyzer was used for the estimation of the milk gross composition and the recording of MIR spectrum. The dataset (n = 859, after the exclusion of 111 noncoagulating samples) was divided into two sub-datasets: the data of 700 ewes were used to estimate prediction model parameters, and the data of 159 ewes were used to validate the model. Four prediction scenarios were compared in the validation, differing for the use of whole or reduced MIR spectrum and the use of raw or corrected data (locally weighted scatterplot smoothing). PLS prediction statistics were moderate. The use of the reduced MIR spectrum yielded the best results for the considered traits, whereas the data correction improved the prediction ability only when the whole MIR spectrum was used. In conclusion, PLS achieves good accuracy of prediction, in particular for ILCY and RCT, and it may enable increasing the number of traits to be included in breeding programs for dairy sheep without additional costs and logistics. View Full-Text
Keywords: clotting properties; individual cheese yield; mid-infrared spectroscopy; partial least square regression; sheep clotting properties; individual cheese yield; mid-infrared spectroscopy; partial least square regression; sheep
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Cellesi, M.; Correddu, F.; Manca, M.G.; Serdino, J.; Gaspa, G.; Dimauro, C.; Macciotta, N.P.P. Prediction of Milk Coagulation Properties and Individual Cheese Yield in Sheep Using Partial Least Squares Regression. Animals 2019, 9, 663.

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