Effects of high pressure (HP) on average casein micelle size and denaturation of alpha-lactalbumin (alpha-la) and beta-lactoglobulin (beta-lg) in raw skim bovine milk were studied over a range of conditions. Micelle size was not influenced by treatment at pressures <200 MPa, but treatment at 250 MPa increased micelle size by approximately 25%, while treatment at > or = 300 MPa irreversibly reduced it to approximately 50% of that in untreated milk. The increase in micelle size after treatment at 250 MPa was greater with increasing treatment time and temperature and milk pH. Treatment times > or = 2 min at 400 MPa resulted in similar levels of micelle disruption, but increasing milk pH to 7.0 partially stabilised micelles against HP-induced disruption. Denaturation of alpha-la did not occur < or = 400 MPa, whereas beta-lg was denatured at pressures >100 MPa. Denaturation of alpha-la and beta-lg increased with increasing pressure, treatment time and temperature and milk pH. The majority of denatured beta-lg was apparently associated with casein micelles. These effects of HP on casein micelles and whey proteins in milk may have significant implications for properties of products made from HP-treated milk.
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