Milk Science

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What is Milk Made Of?

MS 1.09 Recap and Glossary


  • Milk is approximately 87% water.
  • The other 13% is mostly made up of sugar (lactose), fat, and protein.
  • Casein protein helps as an emulsifier.
  • Whey protein helps stabilise milk foam.
  • When entraining air, it’s helpful to add the air before the milk gets hot and to increase the volume of the milk by 33%.
  • The right diet for a dairy herd is a balance of fresh and fermented pasture and a protein supplement. There is a direct relationship between the nutrition of a herd and the level of nutrients in the milk.
  • Microorganisms in milk lead to rapid deterioration in raw milk. The common milk-pasteurisation technique known as the high-temperature short-time (HTST) protocol requires milk to be heated to 72°C for 15 seconds. HTST pasteurisation doesn’t sterilise milk; it just elongates its shelf life.
  • The long-term solution to stable, long-life milk is known as ultra-heat treatment (UHT). UHT processing causes the proteins that bind the milk fat globules together to unwrap, releasing sulphur-containing compounds. These aromatic gases impart a sulphurous, cooked smell to the milk.
  • With current farming technology in the US, dairy farming is responsible for per-kilo carbon emissions three times higher than those of the orange juice industry.
  • Much work remains to be done to reduce milk wastage and to improve biogas digestion technology at the farm level.



Adsorption  The process by which atoms, ions, or molecules spread across the surface of a material to form a film

Anaerobic bacteria  Bacteria whose metabolisms do not require oxygen

Coalescence  The process by which separate regions of the same substance merge to form a homogenous mass

Colloids  Small (<1 um) undissolved particles in a liquid; unlike particles in a suspension, colloids do not settle out due to gravity.

Emulsion  A liquid mixture of two or more substances that are not dissolved into each other

Eutrophication  a detrimental process wherein nutrients are leached from pasture and washed into waterways,