Plasmin Activity in UHT Milk: Relationship between Proteolysis, Age Gelation, and Bitterness

Valentin M. Rauh, Lene B. Johansen, Richard Ipsen, Marie Paulsson, Lotte B. Larsen, Marianne Hammershoj

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51 Citations (SciVal)


Plasmin, the major indigenous protease in milk, is linked to quality defects in dairy products. The specificity of plasmin on caseins has previously been studied using purified caseins and in the indigenous peptide profile of milk. We investigated the specificity and proteolytic pathway of plasmin in directly heated UHT milk (>150 degrees C for <0.2 s) during 14 weeks of storage at 20 degrees C in relation to age gelation and bitter peptides. Sixty-six peptides from alpha(s)- and beta-caseins could be attributed to plasmin activity during the storage period, of which 23 were potentially bitter. Plasmin exhibited the highest affinity for the hydrophilic regions in the caseins that most probably were exposed to the serum phase and the least affinity for hydrophobic or phosphorylated regions. The proteolytic pattern observed suggests that plasmin destabilizes the casein micelle by hydrolyzing casein casein and casein calcium phosphate interaction sites, which may subsequently cause age gelation in UHT milk
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6852-6860
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number28
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Agricultural Science, Forestry and Fisheries


  • age gelation
  • bitterness
  • casein
  • plasmin
  • proteolysis
  • UHT milk


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