Why is milk white?

Galina Uneasy
Galina Uneasy
February 14, 2013
Why is milk white?

The main milk protein of any mammal (and there are more than 5,000 species in nature) is casein. The mass of casein is from 76 to 88% by weight of the total protein contained in milk. The reason why milk is white is the optical properties of micelles (the water-insoluble smallest particles) that make up casein.

The highest content of this protein is observed in the milk of rabbits (up to 15% by weight). Therefore, rabbit milk is the whitest. Whale's milk with 12% casein ranks second in saturation of white, the third place nature gave the reindeer (10%).

Addressing the question about the color of milk, it is also necessary to say why white milk sometimes has a yellow tint. Yellowness is ensured by the presence of beta-carotene in the liquid. The higher the concentration of this substance, the more yellow the shade of milk. For example, goat milk is much paler than cow milk, because it contains less beta-carotene. The concentration of this substance depends not only on the species, but also on the diet of the animal. For example, cows feeding on carrots or pumpkin give more yellow milk.

Casein and beta-carotene determine not only the external characteristics of this useful product. In particular, casein contains 8 out of 20 essential human amino acids. Beta-carotene, in turn, is a vitamin A provitamin (that is, it is used by the body to generate this vitamin).

Therefore, contrary to popular belief, milk is useful for representatives of all age categories, and not just for children, as is commonly believed.



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