Composition of water buffalo milk during the first period of lactation - relation to mozzarella cheese properties

University essay from SLU/Dept. of Animal Nutrition and Management

Abstract: Fresh buffalo milk is the raw material used traditionally to prepare mozzarella cheese by hand. The characteristic smooth texture of mozzarella is obtained through a unique step during its manufacturing process, which is plasticizing or stretching of the cheese curd in hot water. Buffalo milk during about one month after calving is unsuitable for mozzarella production as reported by Ängsholm dairy farm in Uppsala, Sweden, and also by other mozzarella producers. The aim of this study was to investigate changes in milk composition in lactating water buffaloes for about five weeks after calving in relation to mozzarella cheese properties. Individual and bulk milk samples from six Mediterranean buffaloes were analyzed in terms of milk composition, total calcium content, protein profile and ionic calcium concentration. Milk gross composition was analyzed based on Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy. Total calcium content was analyzed by atomic absorption spectrophotometry according to IDF 119: 2007 and IDF 154: 1992. Milk protein analysis was done by capillary electrophoresis. Ionic calcium was determined using calcium ion-selective electrode. Results showed that total calcium content of buffalo milk during the first five weeks of lactation was lower than reported for the average buffalo milk in mid and late lactation. The result of calcium activity of the milk was found to be in favor of obtaining a harder gel. Milk protein analysis revealed that buffalo milk in the first period of lactation is considerably lower in κ-CN and β-CN concentrations than the reported concentration in buffalo milk.

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