This section is from the book "Experimental Cookery From The Chemical And Physical Standpoint", by Belle Lowe. Also available from Amazon: Experimental cookery.
Enzymes. The enzymes of cow's milk are reported as follows by Rogers; proteinases, lactase, diastase, lipase, salolase, catalase, peroxidase, and aldehydrase. Rogers states that the proteolytic enzyme, galactase, brings about slow decomposition of milk proteins into peptones, amino acids, and ammonia.
Vitamins. All the vitamins recognized at the present time are contained in milk. Some are present in comparatively large and others in smaller amounts.
Pigments. The appearance of milk is white. This is due to light rays reflected by the colloidally dispersed constituents of the milk, the calcium caseinate, and calcium phosphate.
Milk contains two classes of yellow or orange pigments. The water-soluble pigment, which imparts a yellow color with a green fluorescence to the whey of milk, was formerly called lactochrome. A name recently suggested for this pigment is lactoflavin. It is regarded as one flavin of a specific group, collectively to be called lyochromes. It is possible that lacto-flavin is composed of more than one pigment. Rogers says "lactoflavin forms compounds with saccharides, proteins, and purines (uric acid). These compounds possibly either occur naturally in milk or readily form during isolations, thus accounting for the several lactoflavins isolated from milk." It is probable that the pigment lactoflavin is one of the five fractions of vitamin G (B2). Milk is relatively rich in this vitamin.
A fat-soluble pigment, carotene, found in the fat gives the milk a more or less yellow tinge, which is more pronounced as the fat particles become more concentrated and form cream. The group of pigments called caroti-noids, which include carotene, xanthophyll, and related pigments, has been described in the chapter on fruits and vegetables. The chief pigment of butter fat is the carotene, but little xanthophyll being found. The depth of color depends upon the amount of pigment present. The color of carotene in solution varies from yellow to orange and to a deep red-orange as the concentration increases. The amount of carotene found in the butter fat depends upon the extent of carotene in the food of the cow. Green grasses, hay cured to retain its green color, green corn, and carrots are rich in carotene. The carotene content of milk fat is less rich during the winter months, if the food of the cow is poor in carotene during this period. Only in cow's milk is the fat extensively pigmented. With the exception of the fat of human milk, which is often pigmented, the fat of the milk of other animals is either devoid of or contains little pigment.
Salts. Milk contains salts of potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium, phosphates, chlorides, and citrates. Traces of sulfates and carbonates are found. Iron is present in small amount. Iodides are also found in small amounts, the amount being greater in some localities than in others. Iodides may be easily transmitted from the feed to the milk. Supplee and Bellis have found copper to average about 0.52 part per million in freshly drawn milk. Brickner has reported that milk contains 3.6 to 5.6 parts of zinc per million parts of milk. Manganese in normal milk averages 0.02 to 0.06 parts per million. The greater part of the sulfur is found in the milk proteins. Barger and Coyne state that part of the sulfur in milk is found in the amino acids methionine and cystine of the proteins, but that all of the sulfur is not accounted for.
The salts of milk are found in milk in solution, in the colloidal state, and in combination with the proteins. The exact chemical combinations of the different salts in the milk are not fully determined. For this reason different authorities report different salt combinations. Thus formulas imply definite combination, whereas there is a complex salt equilibrium in milk, which has not been satisfactorily worked out. The citrates, the combinations of which may be trisodium and tripotassium citrate, tricalcium and trimagnesium citrate, are probably entirely in solution. The possible chlorides of potassium, sodium, and calcium are also in solution. Some authorities believe that the phosphates are present chiefly as dicalcium phosphate, CaHPO4 others believe that tricalcium phosphate, Ca3(PO4)2, is the principal phosphate combination. The phosphates are partly in solution, with the greater portion in colloidal dispersion. When the particles of dicalcium phosphate are heated they become aggregated and partially precipitated.
Calcium and magnesium are in combination with the casein to form calcium and magnesium caseinates. Zoller states that there may be traces of sodium and potassium caseinates.
Lactose. The solubility of lactose and its properties may be found in the chapter on sugar. It is caramelized by heat at rather low temperatures.
Fat. Butter fat is composed of glycerol and fatty acids. Fatty acids of both the saturated and unsaturated series are present. The relative percentage of the unsaturated fatty acids varies with the feed, averaging higher in summer than in winter. Dean and Hilditch state that the oleic and linoleic acids increase by 4 per cent (mols), with a parallel diminution in butyric and stearic acids when cows return to pasture. They also report that with increased age of the cow the unsaturated acids increase at the expense of palmitic acid, which was lowered from 29 to 22-23 per cent by weight of the total fat in the four years of observations made on milk from the same group of cows. The saturated fatty acids are butyric, caproic, caprylic, capric, lauric, myristic, plamitic, and stearic. Arachadonic acid has been reported absent by some investigators. Butter fat contains a higher proportion of the first-named saturated acids than other food fats. The first ones in the series are quite volatile with steam, the volatility decreasing with increase in molecular weight of the acid. Hence, when butter is heated for several minutes, the percentage of the lower saturated fatty acids may be decreased. The unsaturated fatty acids include oleic, linoleic, and arachidic.