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J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Aug 1;66(30):8142-8149. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b02963. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

Carnitine Precursors and Short-Chain Acylcarnitines in Water Buffalo Milk.

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Department of Precision Medicine , University of Campania "L. Vanvitelli" , 80138 Naples , Italy.
Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production , Federico II University , 80137 Naples , Italy.
Stazione Sperimentale per le Industrie delle Essenze e dei derivati dagli Agrumi , Azienda Speciale della Camera di Commercio di Reggio Calabria , 89125 Reggio Calabria , Italy.
Maxillofacial Surgery Section , Marrelli Health , 88900 Crotone , Italy.
Istituto Zooprofilattico Sperimentale del Mezzogiorno , 80055 Naples , Italy.


Ruminants' milk contains δ-valerobetaine originating from rumen through the transformation of dietary Nε-trimethyllysine. Among ruminant's milk, the occurrence of δ-valerobetaine, along with carnitine precursors and metabolites, has not been investigated in buffalo milk, the second most worldwide consumed milk, well-known for its nutritional value. HPLC-ESI-MS/MS analyses of bulk milk revealed that the Italian Mediterranean buffalo milk contains δ-valerobetaine at levels higher than those in bovine milk. Importantly, we detected also γ-butyrobetaine, the l-carnitine precursor, never described so far in any milk. Of interest, buffalo milk shows higher levels of acetylcarnitine, propionylcarnitine, butyrylcarnitine, isobutyrylcarnitine, and 3-methylbutyrylcarnitine (isovalerylcarnitine) than cow milk. Moreover, buffalo milk shows isobutyrylcarnitine and butyrylcarnitine at a 1-to-1 molar ratio, while in cow's milk this ratio is 5 to 1. Results indicate a peculiar short-chain acylcarnitine profile characterizing buffalo milk, widening the current knowledge about its composition and nutritional value.


Nε-trimethyllysine; buffalo; carnitine; milk; short-chain acylcarnitines; γ-butyrobetaine; δ-valerobetaine

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