Milk characteristics in terms of volatile compounds can influence the subsequent product characteristics and can give indications about metabolism. These features can strongly depend on feeding and management. In this perspective, the screening of milk samples intended for Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano located in Northern Italy was performed, focusing on a panel of volatile molecules. The work was carried out on a total number of 25 bovine milk samples for the production of Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano. Milk samples were collected from May to September and analyzed for volatile molecules using headspace gas chromatography mass spectrometry. A range of several volatile molecule classes was considered (aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, carboxylic acids, esters, aromatic hydrocarbons, solforates). Results showed a significant influence of the month and destination of milk due to the time period and subsequent use in cheesemaking (Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano). Significant differences between months were observed for all volatiles. These preliminary results indicate differences between the two types of milk due to the period and destination. The study of volatile molecules in milk will give important information about the physiology of milk and the evolution of dairy products. These features must be extended and confirmed by the sensory analysis of milk and derived products, leading to a more complete characterization of milk biology and derived products.
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