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J Dairy Sci. 2016 Apr;99(4):2537-2544. doi: 10.3168/jds.2015-9849. Epub 2016 Feb 10.

Comparison of milk oxidation by exposure to LED and fluorescent light.

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Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences, Utah State University, Logan 84322. Electronic address:
Department of Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences, Utah State University, Logan 84322.


Light-induced oxidation of milk has been well studied. Exposure of milk to UV light facilitates the oxidation of fats to aldehydes, and the degradation of sulfur-containing amino acids, both of which contribute to off-flavors. In addition, vitamin A and riboflavin are easily degraded by UV light. These reactions occur rapidly and are exacerbated by bright fluorescent lights in retail dairy cases. The invention of white light-emitting diodes (LED) may provide a solution to this oxidation problem. In this study, fresh milk containing 1% fat and fortified with vitamin A and riboflavin was exposed to LED at 4,000 lx, or fluorescent light at 2,200 lx for 24 h. Milk samples exposed to LED or fluorescent light, as well as milk protected from light, were analyzed by a consumer acceptance panel, and a trained flavor panel. In addition, vitamin A, riboflavin, and the production of volatile compounds were quantified. Exposure to light resulted in a reduction of cooked/sweet, milkfat, and sweet flavors and increased the intensity of butterscotch, cardboard, and astringency. In general, exposure to fluorescent light resulted in greater changes in the milk than exposure to LED even though the LED was at higher intensity. Consumers were able detect off-flavors in milk exposed to fluorescent light after 12 h and LED after 24 h of exposure. The riboflavin and vitamin A content was reduced by exposure to fluorescent light, whereas there was no significant reduction caused by LED compared with the non-light-exposed control. Production of hexanal, heptanal, 2-heptanal, octanal, 2-octanal nonanal, dimethyl sulfide, and caproic acid vinyl ester from the light-induced degradation of fats was significantly higher with fluorescent than LED. Production of these compounds was significantly higher with both light treatments than in the control milk. This study indicates that LED is less destructive to milk than fluorescent light.


light oxidation; milk

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