Effect of subclinical mastitis on proteolysis in ovine milk

Autores UPV


The aim of this work was to evaluate the effect of intramammary infection (IMI) on the endogenous proteolysis of milk. Four control checks were carried out in the half-udder milk of 10 ewes that acquired unilateral subclinical mastitis. Two of these checks were conducted before the infection was established and 2 after. Ten healthy ewes were tested as a control group. The presence of a subclinical IMI involved an increase of the products of casein hydrolysis, the proteose-peptone (p-p) fraction and minor (m) caseins, and a decrease of ß-casein. As a result, a significant increase in the proteolysis index (PI), calculated as the ratio of m-casein to the sum of caseins (¿ + ß + ¿), took place ¿-Casein and ¿-casein were not significantly affected by IMI. Correlations confirmed the scenario: log 10 of somatic cell count (SCC) was positively correlated with p-p content and negatively with ß-casein, whereas log 10 SCC was not correlated with ¿-casein or ¿-casein. On the other hand, p-p content was positively correlated with m-casein and PI and negatively with ß-casein, but no correlation was detected between p-p content and ¿- or ¿-casein. Furthermore, between casein fractions, m-casein was only significantly correlated with ß-casein. These results suggest that use of indices of proteolysis of caseins such as p-p, m-casein, and PI, could be applied together with SCC to evaluate the cheese-making quality of milk. © 2011 American Dairy Science Association.