Time-dependent aggregation of casein micelle concentrates

Pulari Krishnakutty Nair*, Milena Corredig

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This research focused on understanding physical and chemical changes occurring to concentrated milk protein suspensions as a function of time. Skim milk (untreated and heat treated at 90°C for 10 min) was concentrated at 6 times the original volume using osmotic stressing, a noninvasive concentration method, maintaining the serum composition as close as possible to that of native milk. A protease inhibitor cocktail, with broad specificity for the inhibition of serine, cysteine, aspartic proteases, and aminopeptidases, was added in selected samples. Within 9 d of storage at 4°C, the apparent viscosity increased markedly for both unheated and heated concentrated milk, but not for those in the presence of protease inhibitors. However, only unheated milk showed a significant increase in the apparent diameter of the casein micelles. Matrix-assisted laser desorption-ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry measurements indicated a significantly lower extent of proteolysis in heated than in unheated samples. The microstructure of the aggregates was observed using field emission scanning electron microscopy, and unheated samples clearly showed aggregation of casein micelles with storage time. In heated samples, aggregation was instead triggered by heat-induced protein-protein interactions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Pages (from-to)92-101
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


  • casein micelle
  • osmotic stressing
  • proteolysis
  • age gelation


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