The milk metabolomes of 407 individual Swedish Red dairy cows were analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy as part of the Danish-Swedish Milk Genomics Initiative. By relating these metabolite profiles to total milk protein concentration and rheological measurements of rennet-induced milk coagulation together using multivariate data analysis techniques, we were able to identify several different associations of the milk metabolome to technological properties of milk. Several novel correlations of milk metabolites to protein content and rennet-induced coagulation properties were demonstrated. Metabolites associated with the prediction of total protein content included choline, N-acetyl hexosamines, creatinine, glycerophosphocholine, glutamate, glucose 1-phosphate, galactose 1-phosphate, and orotate. In addition, levels of lactate, acetate, glutamate, creatinine, choline, carnitine, galactose 1-phosphate, and glycerophosphocholine were significantly different when comparing noncoagulating and well-coagulating milks. These findings suggest that the mentioned metabolites are associated with milk protein content and rennet-induced coagulation properties and may act as quality markers for cheese milk.
Keywords: dairy milk; metabolomics; milk coagulation; milk metabolite; nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.
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