Effects of lactation stage, parity, β-lactoglobulin genotype and milk SCC on whey protein composition in Sarda dairy ewes

Abstract

In 90 Sarda dairy ewes the effects of lactation stage, parity, β-lactoglobulin genotypes, and somatic cell count (SCC) onthe milk content of total protein (TP), casein (CN), whey protein (WP) and its fractions α-lactalbumin (ALA), β-lactoglobulin(BLG), serum albumin (SA), immunoglobulin (IG) and lactoferrin (LF) were analysed using a linear mixed model.Mean values of variables (g/l) were: TP (54.0), CN (43.0), WP (11.0), BLG (4.78), ALA (1.37), SA (0.61), IG (3.83) andLF (0.28). The lactation stage significantly affected all the variables analysed. TP, CN and WP concentrations tended toincrease throughout lactation, with the increase of WP being more pronounced than the corresponding variation in CN.There was no definite trend in BLG content, whereas ALA concentration decreased as lactation progressed. The parityaffected almost all variables studied. WP concentration differed significantly only between the second and fourth parity(10.45 vs 11.44 g/l). BLG and SA concentrations were significantly lower in the youngest ewes. The BLG genotype affectedmilk yield, but no effects were observed on the components of the milk. The SCC influenced almost all variables studied.The TP concentration was significantly higher in milk with SCC >1,000,000 (55.0 g/l) than in milk with lower SCC(53.4 g/l). This was mainly due to the increase of WP (12.52 and 10.24 g/l in milk with SCC above and below1,000,000/ml respectively), especially in those WP fractions originating from blood

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