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Denmark - Aarhus University

Milk differentiation, including organics, with potentials outside the cool chain
PhD project - Marije Akkerman
Jan 2016 - Dec 2018

During the recent years, the interest and demand for organic food, and thereby organic dairy products, has increased. This gives new opportunities for development of processed dairy products from organic milk. Such new markets include UHT and lactose reduced products with potentials outside the cool chain, but also dairy products exploiting the natural variations in milk composition for new products with high trustworthiness and convenience.  Quality and stability of UHT milk is increasingly being linked to not only the microbiological quality of the milk used, but also to the raw milk quality and composition has been found to have impact on UHT stability.  
The aim of this project is to gain knowledge on relationships between management systems, specially feeding, and the milk composition, in relation to pH, calcium, organic acids – including citrate, as well as looking at urea and its effect on protein denaturation.  This will be used to establish knowledge upon milk functionality, especially in relation to heat- and storage stability of UHT milk.
Variations in citrate, Ca distribution, urea and milk pH will be studied in relation to herd management, specially in relation to feeding and organic production schemes. Further, its influence on milk stability is measured (ex. micelle size and zeta potential, heat stability, ethanol stability, degree of whey protein denaturation, aggregate formation, coagulation properties, level of proteolysis). Model studies of variations in these components will be made and their influence on milk stability and properties will be studied.  
This project is carried out in collaboration with Arla Foods amba and Brabrand - DK and is supervised by Lotte Bach Larsen & Nina Aagaard Poulsen from Aarhus University and John Sørensen from Arla Foods.

Technological properties and milk composition of indigenous Danish Cattle

The aim of the project is to collect and characterize milk from three indigenous Danish dairy cattle breeds (Red Danish 1970, Danish Black-Pied 1965 and Jutland breed) for functional and nutritional traits including fatty acid composition, detailed protein profiling and rennet-induced coagulation properties. The study will provide important foreground knowledge about the variation in milk quality traits in native Danish cattle and evaluates whether the indigenous breeds possess traits of technological value or of health importance, or in other ways varies from milk from modern breeds. These results could document added value of the indigenous breeds and potentially opening new possibilities to promote these breeds for economical use and not just cultural use as it is mainly today.

Project leader: Lotte Bach Larsen, Department of Food Science, Aarhus University, Denmark
Grant from The Danish Committee for Preservation of Genetic Resources. 
Project running 2013-2014

Specialized organic breeding goals and breeding schemes for dairy cattle 

The overall aim of the project is to increase the volume and profitability of organic milk production by: 1) Adjusting the breeding stock and production animals to organic production systems. The knowledge gained from genomic selection is here utilized in order to establish organic breeding lines based on the existing Danish dairy breeds. 2) Providing sustainable methods for an organic niche production based on animals with specific genetic characteristics and animals from the indigenous Danish dairy cattle breeds. Establishment of organic lines with special breeding characteristics and use of genetic material from the indigenous Danish breeds will contribute to sustainable management of animal genetic resources in the form of a much larger genetic diversity among organic livestock. Heifers from indigenous Danish breeds (Red Danish 1970, Danish Black-Pied 1965 and Jutland breed) will be transferred to organic herds and after calving, the milk will be characterized to provide guidelines for organic niche products based on the specific health or technological characteristic and potential business plans will be established in collaboration with an organic dairy.

Project leader: Morten Kargo, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Aarhus University, Denmark
Grant from Organic RDD2, The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries of Denmark. 
Project running 2014-2018