The influence of ethanol on the rennet-induced coagulation of milk was studied to investigate potential synergistic effects of these two mechanisms of destabilisation on the casein micelles. Addition of 5% (v/v) ethanol reduced the rennet coagulation time (RCT) of milk, whereas higher levels of ethanol (10-20%, v/v) progressively increased RCT. The temperature at which milk was coagulable by rennet decreased with increasing ethanol content of the milk. The primary stage of rennet coagulation, i.e., the enzymatic hydrolysis of kappa-casein, was progressively slowed with increasing ethanol content (5-20%, v/v), possibly due to ethanol-induced conformational changes in the enzyme molecule. The secondary stage of rennet coagulation, i.e., the aggregation of kappa-casein-depleted micelles, was enhanced in the presence of 5-15% ethanol, the effect being largest at 5% ethanol. Enhanced aggregation of micelles is probably due to an ethanol-induced decrease in inter-micellar steric repulsion. These results indicate an interrelationship between the effects of ethanol and chymosin on the casein micelles in milk, which may have interesting implications for properties of dairy products.
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