Expanding the bovine milk proteome through extensive fractionation

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Bovine milk is an agricultural product of tremendous value worldwide. It contains proteins, fat, lactose, vitamins, and minerals. It provides nutrition and immunological protection (e.g., in the gastrointestinal tract) to the newborn and young calf. It also forms an important part of human nutrition. The repertoire of proteins in milk (i.e., its proteome) is vast and complex. The milk proteome can be described in detail by mass spectrometry-based proteomics. However, the high concentration of dominating proteins in milk reduces mass spectrometry detection sensitivity and limits detection of low abundant proteins. Further, the general health and udder health of the dairy cows delivering the milk may influence the composition of the milk proteome. To gain a more exhaustive and true picture of the milk proteome, we performed an extensive preanalysis fractionation of raw composite milk collected from documented healthy cows in early lactation. Four simple and industrially applicable techniques exploring the physical and chemical properties of milk, including acidification, filtration, and centrifugation, were used for separation of the proteins. This resulted in 5 different fractions, whose content of proteins were compared with the proteins of nonfractionated milk using 2-dimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry analysis. To validate the proteome analysis, spectral counts and ELISA were performed on 7 proteins using the ELISA for estimation of the detection sensitivity limit of the 2-dimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry analysis. Each fractionation technique resulted in identification of a unique subset of proteins. However, high-speed centrifugation of milk to whey was by far the best method to achieve high and repeatable proteome coverage. The total number of milk proteins initially detected in nonfractionated milk and the fractions were 635 in 2 replicates. Removal of dominant proteins and filtering for redundancy across the different fractions reduced the number to 376 unique proteins in 2 replicates. In addition, 366 proteins were detected by this process in 1 replicate. Hence, by applying different fractionation techniques to milk, we expanded the milk proteome. The milk proteome map may serve as a reference for scientists working in the dairy sector.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)7854-7866
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013

    Research areas

  • Bos taurus, proteomics, fractionation technique, milk protein

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