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Chemical Properties and Consumer Perception of


Fluid Milk from Conventional and Pasture-Based
Production Systems
Article in Journal of Dairy Science December 2007
DOI: 10.3168/jds.2007-0456 Source: PubMed

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4 authors, including:
Steven P Washburn

Lisa O Dean

North Carolina State University

United States Department of Agriculture, Ralei

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Evaluation of chemical properties and consumer perception of fluid milk from


conventional and pasture-based production systems
A.E. Croissant, L. Dean, S. P. Washburn, and M.A. Drake
Departments of Food Science and Animal Science
North Carolina State University

Fluid milk composition and flavor variations have been attributed to feed, seasonal
variation, and breed. The objectives of this study were to compare chemical properties and
consumer perception of fluid milk from cows fed pasture-based (PB) or total mixed ration
(TMR) diets. Fluid milk was collected from two herds; one fed on a PB diet and one fed on a
TMR diet. Milk from Holstein and Jersey cows was collected separately and milkfat was
standardized by breed. Fatty acid profiling was also conducted. A trained descriptive sensory
analysis panel documented the flavor profiles of the milks. Triangle tests and acceptance
testing were conducted with consumers in separate sessions. Instrumental and sensory
analysis differentiated the PB and TMR milks (p<0.05). PB milks contained higher
percentages of unsaturated fatty acids, including conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Trained
panelists documented higher intensities of sweet aromatic, grassy, and cowy/barny flavors in
PB milks compared to TMR milks (p<0.05). Consumers were able to detect differences
between pasture-based and TMR milks, although there were no significant differences found
in consumer acceptance scores. These results indicate distinct flavor and compositional
differences between TMR and PB milks while also showing that flavor may not affect overall
consumer acceptance. These findings are crucial issues to consider and optimize for the
growing interest in grazing feed systems.
Materials and Methods
Collection schedule and Processing
Milk was collected from two farms at morning and afternoon milkings in succession.
Milk was collected at the onset of the grazing season (March 2006) and continues
approximately every three weeks in order to obtain milk produced while the herd fed from the
many types of forage grown throughout the season. Milkfat was standardized to ~1.5% across
all samples. Milk was pasteurized and homogenized in a batch process.
Feed Analysis
Feed samples were analyzed for moisture by the North Carolina Department of
Agriculture and Consumer Services, Food and Drug Protection Division, Forage Laboratory.
PB cows received approximately 60% forage and 40% grain. Grain consisted of 75% grain,
corn meal and 25% whole cottonseed.
Physical properties and Composition Analysis
Aerobic plate counts and Coliform counts were conducted on both raw and pasteurized
milks using Petrifilms. Color was measured using a Hunter color scale. Milkfat and solids
were measured using the CEM SmartTrac system. Fat, solids, protein, and density were
measured utilizing the Lacticheck system. Fatty acids were extracted using the AOAC
Choloroform-Methanol extraction method and analyzed by gas chromatography.

Sensory Analysis
Descriptive analysis was performed using trained panelists (n=10) with extensive
training in dairy flavor. Samples were evaluated in duplicate at room temperature. Flavor
attributes were rated for intensity utilizing a universal 15-point scale.
Consumer testing consisted of two separate tests: a triangle difference test and consumer
consumer acceptance testing. A triangle test is composed of three samples, two are the same
and one is different. Panelists (n=50) are asked to taste a set of samples and identify the odd
sample. An acceptance test asks consumers (n=75) to rate overall liking, flavor liking, and
texture liking using a 9-point scale where 1=dislike extremely and 9=like extremely.
Results
Sensory
Descriptive analysis comparing TMR and PB milks show that TMR milks are
characterized by sweet feed/malty aromatics while PB milks are characterized by grassy and
fecal/mothball aromatics as well as higher intensities of sweet taste and sweet aromatic.
Figures 1&2. Descriptive Analysis of TMR and PB Milks
Sweet
Aromatic

Sweet
Aromatic

3.5
2.5

Sweet
1.5

3.5
2.5

Sweet Feed/
Malty

Sweet
1.5

TMR Jersey
PB Jersey

0.5

TMR Holstein
0.5

-0.5

PB Holstein

-0.5

Fecal/
Mothball

Milk Fat

Grassy

Sweet Feed/
Malty

Cooked

Fecal/
Mothball

Milk Fat

Grassy

Cooked

Triangle (difference) testing showed that panelists were consistently able to choose the
different sample when comparing PB milk and conventional milk for each breed. All trials in
the consumer difference testing showed significant (p<0.10) detection of the odd sample. This
testing established that consumers could detect differences between the milks. When
panelists were asked to evaluate acceptability of milk on different days, consumer acceptance
scores were not significantly different across the four treatments.
Compositional Analysis
PB milks were consistently darker or less white than TMR milk with milk from Jersey
cows darker than that of Holsteins. This can be attributed to the higher concentrations of
carotenoids in the grass forage in the case of PB milk and the higher milkfat concentration in
the Jersey breed. TMR milks contained higher milkfat, solids nonfat, and protein compared to
PB milks. Jersey milk was also higher in milkfat, solids nonfat, and protein compared to
Holstein.
Analysis of the fatty acid content showed that PB milks contained nearly double the
amount of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) when compared to TMR milks. The total
polyunsaturated fatty acid content was also significantly higher in PB milks as were the
monounsaturated fatty acids such as oleic acid (C18:1).

Table 1. Mean proximate analysis of pasture-based and conventional


milk by breed
Solids
Fat
Solids
nonfat
Protein
(%)
(%)
(%)
Density
(%)
TMR Jersey
4.56
13.76
9.61
31.86
3.65
TMR Holstein
3.81
12.52
9.22
31
3.95
PB Jersey
3.97
13.08
9.52
32.1
3.61
PB Holstein
3.13
11.73
9.18
31.49
3.47

Table 2. Mean(SD) percentage of fatty acid types by group averaged over all
samplings
Milk Type
TMR
TMR
FA Type
Jersey
Holstein
PB Jersey
PB Holstein
Saturated FA
68.06(2.09) 59.07(17.14) 63.71(2.22) 58.79(4.26)
Monounsaturated FA
26.33(1.11) 26.21(9.85) 29.47(1.78) 33.37(1.99)
Polyunsaturated FA
4.05(0.75)
4.52(2.28)
4.94(1.70)
6.38(3.11)
Conjugated linoleic acid
(CLA)
0.69(0.24)
0.68(0.33)
1.20(0.47)
1.40(0.81)

Conclusions
There are distinct flavor and compositional differences between fluid milk from
conventional production systems and from pasture-based feeding systems. Differences in
flavor and composition do not have a significant effect on consumer liking and/or acceptance.
Type of farming system has a significant effect on milk fatty acid composition with pasturebased systems consistently showing a higher proportion of polyunsaturated and
monounsaturated fatty acids.

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