SPLASH!® milk science update: June 2018 Issue

This month’s issue features milk protein and bacteria, ice age milk, sheep milk, and infant gut seeding.

Milk Protein Decoys Fool Bacteria

Milk Protein Decoys Fool Bacteria

Decoys are commonly used in hunting, politics and warfare. Their attributes are deception and diversion. The finer skills of a decoy are best exemplified in biology where millions of years of evolution have honed the occupation into a highly efficient artform. One example is a molecular decoy in milk that expertly plies its trade of deception and diversion to protect individuals from disease-causing bacteria. Read More...

Ice Age Milk: Did Low Ultra-Violet Light Influence Milk Vitamin D Content?

Ice Age Milk: Did Low Ultra-Violet Light Influence Milk Vitamin D Content?

If human milk had a nutrition label, the concentration of one vitamin would really stand out. Human milk is quite low in vitamin D—lower, in fact, than the amount an infant actually needs for optimal growth and development. The discrepancy between the needs of the infant for this vitamin and its low content in milk can be reconciled, however, using an evolutionary perspective; human infants relied on ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation rather than diet to meet their vitamin D requirements. This explanation applies to populations that lived near the equator, who had ample UV radiation access throughout the year, as well as those that lived at higher latitudes with reduced UVB access. Indeed, the reliance on UVB for vitamin D synthesis was so vital that humans living at high latitudes evolved lighter skin pigmentation to increase their body’s ability to absorb UVB light. Read More...

ACE Reasons for Consuming Sheep’s Milk

ACE Reasons for Consuming Sheep’s Milk

Sheep milk is not a regular feature on supermarket shelves, except in the form of cheese. In fact, many well-known cheeses—Feta, Manchego, and Roquefort among them—are made of sheep’s milk, often unbeknownst to consumers. It is the particular composition of sheep’s milk that makes it so good for cheese making. In short, sheep’s milk is very high in solids, containing quite a bit of fat and almost double the protein content of goat’s milk and cow’s milk. But the process of making cheese leaves a lot of waste. And, according to recent studies, this leftover liquid (or whey) could find a use in the creation of novel products containing bioactive peptides. The bioactive peptides from sheep’s milk whey are of interest because they are unusually good at lowering blood pressure. Read More...