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By Makeli Phiri

ALL animals have milk secretion. The purpose of this milk secretion is to give their new born food. The milk is the only food which the new born receives for the first few months of life.
This proves that the milk from “Mother Nature” contains all the components necessary to ensure growth. The amount of milk produced differs from animal to animal just as the composition.
For the selected animals look at their milk composition.
Human Cow Goat Sow
Fat 4.5% 4.5% 3.5% 8.2%
Protein 1.1% 3.8% 3.1% 5.2%
Lactose 6.8% 4.9% 4.6% 4.8%
Ash 0.20% 0.72% 0.79% 0.63%
Total 12.6 13.9 12.0 19.9
These differences are, without doubt, the consequence of the demands of the new born animals for their nutrition and growth. Due to the good nutrition value of milk, people from the very beginning have been interested in using milk from the animals in their own diet, either raw or processed in different products.
Many animals have been used for obtaining milk for example goats, buffaloes and others, but from an economical point of view, cows’ milk is of the greatest importance.
Because of this the information now being talked about mainly concerns cows’ milk. But all the general facts can just as well be varied for all other animals.
Factors which have influence on the composition of milk are varied. Breed even if the animals of the same breed are bred under the same conditions there will still be a remarkable difference in the composition of milk.
With milk fat percentage some would have an increased amount of protein while lactose and ash is more identical
Individually, cows kept under identical conditions of feeding, management and environment would still show considerable difference in the composition of their milk.
These differences are inherited, and are passed on from cow to calf. Variation during milking will be a big difference in the fat percentage.
The highest fat percentage would be found at the end of milking time. This proves the necessity of getting the last milk out of the udder.
Stage of lactation. The first milk from the cow after the birth of the young calf is called colostrum. The composition of colostrum is very different from normal milk.
The high protein content in the first few days is of great importance to new born calves because it gives them a lot of antibodies to protect them against disease.
There are also other factors which can influence the milk yield and the content of the solids in the milk, for example weather, the season of the year, illness, and last and not the least the conditions under which the cow is kept.
Milk fat. The role of the milk fat or butter fat in milk falls primarily into four main categories, namely economic, nutrition, flavour and physical properties.
The milk lipids or milk fat always has important bearing on the economics of milk and milk products. Today, most prices for milk are based largely on the fat content of the milk, together with the weight.
This is so because butter is the most expensive dairy product, and the fine flavour in dairy products comes from the butter fat. This butter fat can be summarised as follows.
First – it serves as a rich source of energy
Secondly – it serves as a carrier of the fat soluble vitamins A, D, E and K
Thirdly – milk fat contains significant amounts of essential fatty acids
The most distinctive role which the milk lipids play in dairy products concerns the flavour. The milk fat gives a soft, smooth and rich taste to the dairy products.
The milk lipids can also cause adverse changes to the taste of dairy products, and in some cases can make them inedible.
The surface of these fat globules is coated with an absorbed layer of material commonly known as protein in the form of a complex. The membrane plays an important role in a number of processes and problems of milk and milk products because of its ability to make emulsions
Another important component in the milk fat is the phospholipids. This is the compound in the globule membrane which enables the globules in the cream layer to mix again with the milk to form an emulsion, when the milk is shaken.
As a result of all these facts mentioned, it can be concluded that milk fat is a high energy source and healthy product, which will improve the taste and consistency of all products in which it is used.

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