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J Dairy Sci. 2013 Jun;96(6):3414-23. doi: 10.3168/jds.2012-5774. Epub 2013 Mar 30.

Evaluation of milk powder quality by protein oxidative modifications.

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Departamento de Química Biológica (CIQUIBIC), Facultad de Ciencias Químicas, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Ciudad Universitaria, 5000 Córdoba, Argentina.

Erratum in

  • J Dairy Sci. 2013 Jul;96(7):4772. Pecora, Rolando P [added]; Romano, José C P [added]; Kivatinitz, Silvia C [added].


The objective of the present research was to evaluate commercially available milk powders according to their protein oxidative modifications and antioxidant capacity, and to evaluate if these characteristics are related to physical quality parameters such as dispersibility or stability during storage. Fifteen commercially processed spray-dried milk powders were evaluated: 6 whole milk powders (WMP), 4 skim milk powders (SMP), and 5 infant formula powders (IFP). Protein oxidative status was measured as protein carbonyl (PC) content, dityrosine content, and extent of protein polymerization. The level of PC was slightly lower in SMP than in WMP, whereas IFP had more than twice as much PC as WMP (2.8 ± 0.4, 2.1 ± 0.2, and 6.5 ± 1.3 nmol/mg of protein for WMP, SMP, and IFP, respectively). No differences were detected in dityrosine accumulation. Although all the possible pairs of parameters were tested for correlations, we found that 4 parameters were linked: PC, whey content, protein aggregate level, and dispersibility. After 9 mo of storage at -20°C or room temperature, all milk samples were analyzed to evaluate changes in protein oxidative status (PC, dityrosine, and protein integrity) and related parameters. Compared with the initial condition, PC increased in all tested samples after 9 mo of storage at -20°C or at room temperature. Stored milk powders had increased PC and decreased dispersibility compared with prestorage levels. Our results highlight the importance of protein oxidative status in milk powder and its relationship to other related quality parameters, such as protein integrity and dispersibility. Our findings suggest that the understanding of such relationships could help in developing quality differentiation for different types of milk powders in the product market.

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