Effects of Sterilization, Packaging, and Storage on Vitamin C Degradation, Protein Denaturation, and Glycation in Fortified Milks

J Dairy Sci. 2005 Mar;88(3):891-9. doi: 10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(05)72755-7.


Monitoring the nutritional quality of dietetic milk throughout its shelf life is particularly important due to the high susceptibility of some vitamins to oxidation, and the continuous development of the Maillard reaction during storage. The objective of this paper was to evaluate the vitamin C content and protein modification by denaturation and glycation on fortified milk samples (growth milks) destined for 1- to 3-yr-old children. The influences of the sterilization process, formulation, packaging, and storage duration at ambient temperature in the dark were studied. Vitamin C degradation was particularly influenced by type of packaging. The use of a 3-layered opaque bottle was associated with complete oxidation of vitamin C after 1 mo of storage, whereas in the 6-layered opaque bottle, which has an oxygen barrier, the vitamin C content slowly decreased to reach 25% of the initial concentration after 4 mo of storage. However, no significant effect of vitamin C degradation during storage could be observed in terms of Maillard reaction, despite the fact that a probable impact occurred during sterilization. Furosine content and the FAST (fluorescence of advanced Maillard products and soluble tryptophan) index-indicators of the early and advanced Maillard reaction, respectively-were significantly higher in the in-bottle sterilized milk samples compared with UHT samples, and in fortified milk samples compared with cow milk. However, after 1 mo, the impact of storage was predominant, increasing the furosine level and the FAST index at similar levels for the differently processed samples. The early Maillard reaction developed continuously throughout the storage period.In conclusion, only packaging comprising an oxygen and light barrier is compatible with vitamin C fortification of milk. Furthermore, short storage time or low storage temperature is needed to retard vitamin C degradation, protein denaturation, and development of the Maillard reaction.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Ascorbic Acid / metabolism*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Food Packaging / methods*
  • Food, Fortified
  • Hot Temperature / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Light / adverse effects
  • Maillard Reaction
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Milk / standards
  • Milk Proteins / chemistry*
  • Milk Proteins / metabolism
  • Nutritive Value
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Denaturation
  • Sterilization
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Antioxidants
  • Milk Proteins
  • Ascorbic Acid