Tropical Animal Health and Production

, Volume 51, Issue 8, pp 2235–2241 | Cite as

Genetic parameters for nitrogen fractions content in Mexican Brown Swiss cattle milk

  • Luis Antonio Saavedra-Jiménez
  • Rodolfo Ramírez-ValverdeEmail author
  • Rafael Núñez-Domínguez
  • Agustín Ruíz-Flores
  • José Guadalupe García-Muñiz
Regular Articles


Nitrogen plays an important role in the metabolism of living organisms due to the variety of physiological functions that involve molecules that contain it. This study aimed to estimate genetic parameters for milk nitrogen fractions and the casein:protein ratio in Mexican Brown Swiss population. Milk samples from 317 cows were used to determine total (TN), non-protein (NPN), and non-casein (NCN) nitrogen. Then, crude (CP), true (TP), and whey (WP) proteins, and casein (Cas) percentages were obtained. In addition, the ratios (%) Cas:CP (CCP) and Cas:TP (CTP) were calculated. (Co)variance components and genetic parameters were estimated using an animal model. The pedigree included 2616 animals. Heritabilities were obtained from single-trait and genetic correlations from bivariate analyses. The variation among cows was large for the studied traits. Heritability estimates could be regarded as high (> 0.7) for NCN, WP, CCP, and CTP, while for the rest of the traits, the estimates were from moderate to low magnitude. Genetic correlations estimates differed in magnitude, ranging from − 0.9 to 0.9. There is enough additive genetic variability to achieve genetic improvement for the traits studied; therefore, they could be considered in a breeding program for the studied population.


Casein Casein:protein ratio Total nitrogen Whey protein 



Authors thank Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología for the financial support to the first author during his Doctoral studies, and to the Asociación Mexicana de Criadores de Ganado Suizo de Registro for allowing the use of their databases.

Compliance with ethical standards

Statement of animal rights

All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Zootecnia. Posgrado en Producción AnimalUniversidad Autónoma ChapingoChapingoMexico

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