The β-casein (CSN2) A2 allelic variant alters milk protein profile and slightly worsens coagulation properties in Holstein cows

V. Bisutti, S. Pegolo, D. Giannuzzi, L. F.M. Mota, A. Vanzin, A. Toscano, Erminio Trevisi, Paolo Ajmone Marsan, M. Brasca, A. Cecchinato

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivistapeer review


Milk proteins genetic variants have always attracted a lot of interest as they are associated with important issues relating to milk composition and technological properties. An important debate has recently opened at an international level on the role of β-casein (β-CN) A1 and A2 polymorphisms, toward human health. For this reason, a lot of efforts has been put into the promotion of A2 milk by companies producing and selling A1-free milk, leading the farmers and breeders to switch toward A2 milk production without paying attention on the potential effect of the processability of milk into cheese. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the effects of β-CN, specifically the A1 and A2 allelic variants, on the detailed milk protein profile and cheese-making traits in individual milk samples of 1,133 Holstein Friesian cows. The protein fractions were measured with reversed-phase (RP)-HPLC (expressed in g/L and % N), and the cheese-making traits, namely milk coagulation properties, cheese yield, and curd nutrient recoveries assessed at the individual level, with a nano-scale cheese-making procedure. The β-CN (CSN2), κ-CN (CSN3), and β-lactoglobulin (LGB) genetic variants were first identified through RP-HPLC and then confirmed through genotyping. Estimates of the effects of protein genotypes were obtained using a mixed inheritance model that considered, besides the standard nuisance variables (i.e., days in milk, parity, and herd-date), the milk protein genes located on chromosome 6 (CSN2, CSN3) and on chromosome 11 (LGB), and the polygenic background of the animals. Milk protein genes (CSN2, CSN3, and LGB) explained an important part of the additive genetic variance in the traits evaluated. The β-CN A1A1 was associated with a significantly lower production of whey proteins, particularly of β-lactoglobulin (−8.2 and −6.8% for g/L and % N, respectively) and α-lactalbumin (−4.7 and −4.4% for g/L and % N, respectively), and a higher production of β-CN (6.8 and 6.1% for g/L and % N, respectively) with respect to the A2A2 genotype. Regarding milk cheese-making ability, the A2A2 genotype showed the worst performance compared with the other genotypes, particularly with respect to the BA1, with a higher rennet coagulation time (7.1 and 28.6% compared with A1A1 and BA1, respectively) and a lower curd firmness at 30 min. Changes in milk protein composition through an increase in the frequency of the A2 allele in the production process could lead to a worsening of the coagulation and curd firming traits.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)N/A-N/A
RivistaJournal of Dairy Science
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • genetic variant
  • milk coagulation properties
  • protein profile
  • β-casein
  • β-casomorphin


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