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Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network

All about Mastitis I Milk Quality

High SCC Affected Cottage Cheese Composition and Yield

Dairy product quality defects resulting from mastitis are primarily due to enzymatic breakdown of milk components. Milk protein breakdown that occurs as a result of mastitis will have its most immediate impact on cheese yield. Previous research on the influence of milk SCC on cheese yield has been performed on cheese made with rennet, however little research has been done to determine the impact of mastitis on cheese made from acid coagulation of milk.
Cornell University researchers conducted a study to determine the effects of high SCC milk on cottage cheese. Eight uninfected, low SCC cows were selected for the study and subsequently infused with Streptococcus agalactiae. Cottage cheese was manufactured for four days prior to infusion (low SCC period) and for four days one week after infusion (high SCC period). Mean SCC during the low SCC period was 83,000 cells/mL and 872,500 cells/mL during the high SCC period. Protein recovery in the uncreamed curd was higher during the low SCC period than during the high SCC period. High SCC and the associated higher proteolytic activity caused higher protein loss in the whey and wash water and more curd fines. Protein breakdown during refrigerated storage was faster in cottage cheese made from high SCC milk, which can lead to flavor and texture defects. The yield efficiency was significantly lower for the cottage cheese curd made from high SCC milk..

Results show that cultured dairy products such as cottage cheese should be made from fresh, high quality milk since defects in raw milk quality, such as high SCC, can have a negative impact on finished product quality and yield.
Source: From the National Mastitis Council newsletter "Udder Topics", Vol. 21, No. 3 (June 1998). 1998. J. Dairy Sci. 81:1205.

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