Binding of vitamin A by casein micelles in commercial skim milk

M. S. Mohan, J. L. Jurat-Fuentes, F. Harte

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37 Scopus citations


Recent studies have shown that reassembled micelles formed by caseinates and purified casein fractions (αs- and β-casein) bind to hydrophobic compounds, including curcumin, docosahexaenoic acid, and vitamin D. However, limited research has been done on the binding of hydrophobic compounds by unmodified casein micelles in skim milk. In the present study, we investigated the ability of casein micelles in commercial skim milk to associate with vitamin A (retinyl palmitate), a fat-soluble vitamin commonly used to fortify milk. Milk protein fractions from different commercially available skim milk samples subjected to different processing treatments, including pasteurized, ultrapasteurized, organic pasteurized, and organic ultrapasteurized milks, were separated by fast protein liquid chromatography. The fractions within each peak were combined and freeze-dried. Sodium dodecyl sulfate-PAGE with silver staining was used to identify the proteins present in each of the fractions. The skim milk samples and fractions were extracted for retinyl palmitate and quantified against a standard using normal phase-HPLC. Retinyl palmitate was found to associate with the fraction of skim milk containing caseins, whereas the other proteins (BSA, β-lactoglobulin, α-lactalbumin) did not show any binding. The retinyl palmitate content in the various samples ranged from 1.59 to 2.48μg of retinyl palmitate per mL of milk. The casein fractions contained between 14 and 40% of total retinyl palmitate in the various milks tested. The variation in the retention of vitamin A by caseins was probably explained by differences in the processing of different milk samples, including thermal treatment, the form of vitamin A emulsion used for fortification, and the point of fortification during processing. Unmodified casein micelles have a strong intrinsic affinity toward the binding of vitamin A used to fortify commercially available skim milks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)790-798
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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