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Effects of overprocessing on heat damage of UHT milk


Formation of lactulose, furosine, galactosyl-|*beta*|-pyranone and lysinoalanine was studied in UHT milk samples produced by either direct or indirect heating on industrial plants and by indirect heating on a pilot plant. In particular, the effects of severe sterilization conditions, different proportions of milk recirculation, and storage of the finished product (23 °C for up to 90 days) have been investigated on the levels of the above molecules in UHT milk. An extensive increase of the values of all the indicators occurred when severe heat process was applied, but no direct relation was found between their levels and the nominal time–temperature conditions. Lactulose and furosine levels confirmed to be strictly correlated in UHT milk. In case of overheating or high proportion (60%) of milk recirculation, galactosyl-|*beta*|-pyranone formation was strongly enhanced, proving that also the advanced Maillard reaction takes place extensively, which is not detected by furosine value. Formation of lysinoalanine in UHT drinking milk on storage was pointed out for the first time. Lysinoalanine proved to be the most sensitive index of storage conditions among the four parameters studied. Data suggest that a realistic defence of UHT milk quality can be achieved only by fixing upper limits to heat damage parameters. Besides avoiding unjustified milk overheating, this approach may allow manipulations, like reprocessing expired milk, to be pointed out.

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The authors are grateful to Professor Pierpaolo Resmini for encouragement and support.

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Correspondence to Luisa Pellegrino.

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Cattaneo, S., Masotti, F. & Pellegrino, L. Effects of overprocessing on heat damage of UHT milk. Eur Food Res Technol 226, 1099–1106 (2008).

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  • UHT milk
  • Heat damage
  • Overprocessing
  • Lactulose
  • Furosine
  • Lysinoalanine