1 Jun 2016

Milk analysis with Specac

For World Milk Day it seems only fitting that we explore some ways in which our equipment has been used for the testing and analysis of milk.


FTIR detection of Casein in raw milk

Casein is a protein present in milk and (in coagulated form) cheese. It is important to be able to determine the proportion of casein out of other protein in milk, as it can lead to indigestion, allergies and has even been referred to as a cancer-causer.

A rapid detection method, IR (in this case FTIR) spectroscopy is a great way to yield detailed information about a substance's chemical structure.

Researchers at the New Zealand Dairy Research Institute investigated the possibility of directly measuring casein in milk using FTIR spectroscopy. And they specified that "all items except the spectrometer and software were obtained from Graseby-Specac (Orpington, Kent, UK)." That's us!

In conclusion, the FTIR spectroscopic method was described as "a definite improvement, as far as speed and simplicity are concerned, over filter instruments where casein is measured by the difference in protein content before and after precipitation of the casein."

Our Pearl FTIR transmission spectrometer accessory is the fastest and most accurate liquid FTIR analysis accessory yet.

Rehydration properties of powdered milk

Another property of Casein and milk protein is that it can affect the rehydration speed and effectiveness of powdered milk. Casein has been found to inhibit the transfer of water into the powder particles.


Medium Protein Content milk (MPC), prepared from fresh bovine milk, was evaluated for rehydration characteristics by researchers at University College Cork in Ireland.

And they operated a "Specac hydraulic compressor, using a fill height of 1 mm and a compression force of 8000 kg," to prepare 13 mm discs of MPC powder for analysis using optical tensiometry.

The study concluded that low ionic strength "seems to limit the dispersion of primary particles during the rehydration of intermediate and high protein MPCs."

Learn more about our our Autotouch Hydraulic Pellet Press here.

Assessing the intake of breast milk in infants

The method of weighing infants ('test-weighing') to assess their intake of breast milk during the advised 'exclusive breastfeeding' period is often time-consuming and inconvenient. 

By using the stable isotope technique, Dose-to-Mother (analyzing saliva collected after the mother was given deuterium oxide), the normal feeding pattern continues undisturbed.

The Specac Omni-Cell was recommended for the analysis of saliva samples by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

FTIR was recommended over mass spectroscopy for the analysis of human fluids (excluding urine and human milk) because "FTIR instrumentation is easier to use and maintain than that of IRMS, is less expensive to buy and the cost of analysis is lower; FTIR is, therefore, particularly suitable in settings where resources are limited."

Our Pearl FTIR transmission spectrometer accessory is simplest-to-use infrared liquid analysis tool, despite being very accurate and providing highly repeatable spectra.

Check out #SpectroscopySolutions for more.