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A1 and A2 Beta-Casein

A1 and A2 Beta-Casein

Beta-casein makes up about 30% of the protein in cows (bovine) milk. In recent years, there has been growing interest in testing for A1 and A2 type beta-casein in milk and dairy products, and Analytica has testing methods that have been refined over a number of years.

Analytica’s testing is used by farmers and dairy manufacturers with an interest in producing milk or dairy products that meet particular specifications for beta-casein content.  It covers the following applications:

Farm testing

  • Identifying the genetic makeup of dairy cattle for beta-casein based on DNA testing, or analysis of the beta-casein in liquid milk samples from individual milking animals.
  • Measuring the amount of A1 type beta-casein in bulk milk, to monitor the milk being produced by a particular herd or group of animals.

Manufactured dairy product testing

  • Measuring the amount of A1 type beta-casein in manufactured milk products, milk powders, and other dairy products.

 

A NOTE ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RELATED TO BETA-CASEIN

A range of intellectual property is registered or under application around the production, sale, and use of products made with milk from cows that are free of A1 beta-casein protein.  The provision of beta-casein testing and results by Analytica does not provide access to any intellectual property rights owned by various parties independent of Analytica.

More information about research on beta-casein variants and bioactive fragments generated from their digestion can be found at www.betacasein.net.

A1 AND A2 BETA CASEIN TESTING - ON FARM

The beta-casein protein produced by dairy cows in their milk is controlled by a single gene.  As it is a genetic trait, the type of beta-casein that cows produce will not change during their life, and farmers can also use selective breeding to influence the genetics in calves that they breed in their herds.

Analytica’s testing helps dairy herd owners to produce milk that meets a particular beta-casein specification by confirming the genetic makeup of individual animals, as well as monitoring the A1 type beta-casein being produced in the bulk milk of a herd or group of animals.  Please note that this testing is only designed for use in bovine (cattle) animals – not with other milking species like goats or sheep.

INDIVIDUAL ANIMAL TESTING

Every animal has 2 copies of the beta-casein gene.  If both copies are A1, then the animal has an A1/A1 genotype and will only produce A1 type beta-casein in its milk.  If both copies are A2, then the animal has an A2/A2 genotype and will only produce A2 type beta-casein in its milk.  Animals with one copy of each gene have an A1/A2 genotype, and produce 50% of each of A1-type and A2-type beta casein.

  • Analytica’s DNA testing service can be used with any animal to confirm its genetic makeup – female or male, young or old.  Analytica recommends its use in males or young (non-milking) animals, and can work with a range of sample types to carry out a DNA test.
  • For milking cows, testing the protein in a milk samples collected from each individual animal is the best option (cost, speed, and accuracy) for confirming the beta-casein type of milking cows.   Farmers can send individual samples direct to Analytica, or arrange with their herd testing provider to send sub-samples of milk collected at a herd test to Analytica.

BULK MILK MONITORING

A sample of the bulk milk being produced by a herd or group of animals can be tested to identify how much A1 type beta-casein is in there.  The test reports the percentage of the beta-casein in a sample that is A1-type with a reporting limit of 1%, and can be compared with any specification or requirement that the herd owner may wish to work to.

SENDING AND PRESERVING SAMPLES

Liquid milk samples can be sent to Analytica from around NZ using normal courier systems.  They can also be sent from other countries by following our instructions about how to send samples from overseas.

If shipping samples in NZ, its best if they are frozen prior to shipping, and that an insulated shipping container with frozen cooler pads is used to keep samples chilled for as long as possible during transit.  Bronopol preservative can be used to give further protection.  If shipping from overseas, please contact us to learn about a simple preservation technique that we have confirmed can be used to protect liquid milk samples during a longer shipping period.

A1 AND A2 BETA CASEIN TESTING - MANUFACTURED PRODUCTS

Analytica’s testing helps dairy manufacturers, marketers, and consumers to check for the A1 type beta-casein content of milk, milk powders, and nutritional products. Please note that the testing is designed for use in milk from bovine (cattle) animals, and is not able to be used to test beta-casein produced by other milking species like goats or sheep.

Testing used by manufacturers reports the percentage of the beta-casein in a sample that is A1-type, with a reporting limit of 1%, and can be compared with any specification or requirement that the herd owner may wish to work to.

BULK MILK MONITORING

Manufacturers can test samples of the bulk milk being received from suppliers to identify how much A1 type beta-casein is in there, as part of quality and composition monitoring.

MANUFACTURED MILK, AND MILK POWDER

Samples of in-process or finished product can be tested to confirm their A1 type beta-casein content, for comparison with product specifications.

NUTRITIONAL POWDERS, INCLUDING INFANT FORMULA AND INFANT FORMULA BASE POWDERS

These are very complex sample types, but as with other milk powders in-process or finished products can be tested to confirm their A1 type beta-casein content, for comparison with product specifications.

OTHER SAMPLE TYPES

If you have other sample types requiring testing, please contact us to confirm whether those sample types have been previously validated. In some cases the testing may not be required because the product contains little or no protein (e.g.  butter or AMF). Cheese is a challenging sample type to work with due to the very extensive protein modification that takes place during the manufacturing process.

SENDING AND PRESERVING SAMPLES

Samples can be sent to Analytica from around NZ using normal courier systems. Overseas samples can also be sent from other countries by following our instructions about how to send samples from overseas.

If shipping liquid milk samples in NZ, its best if they are frozen prior to shipping, and that an insulated shipping container with frozen cooler pads is used to keep samples chilled for as long as possible during transit.  Bronopol preservative can be used to give further protection.  If shipping liquid milk samples from overseas, please contact us to learn about a simple preservation technique that we have confirmed can be used to protect liquid milk during a longer shipping period.

Dairy powders tend to be stable without special shipping conditions being in place.

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