Our objective was to determine whether data from a previous study using model milk emulsions to characterize the influence of variation in fatty acid chain length and unsaturation on mid-infrared (MIR) fat predictions could be used to identify a strategy to improve the accuracy of MIR fat predictions on a population of farm milks with a wide variation in fatty acid chain length and unsaturation. The mean fatty acid chain length for 45 farm milks was 14.417 carbons, and the mean unsaturation was 0.337 double bonds per fatty acid. The range of fatty acid chain lengths across the 45 farm milks was 1.23 carbons, and the range in unsaturation was 0.167 double bonds per fatty acid. Fat B (absorbance by the carbon-hydrogen stretch) MIR predictions increased and fat A MIR (absorbance by the ester carbonyl stretch) predictions decreased relative to reference chemistry with increasing fatty acid chain length. When the fat B MIR fat predictions were corrected for sample-to-sample variation in unsaturation, the positive correlation between fat B and fatty acid chain length increased from a coefficient of determination of 0.42 to 0.89. A 45:55 ratio of fat B corrected for unsaturation and fat A gave a smaller standard deviation of the difference between MIR prediction and reference chemistry than any ratio of the fat B (without correction for unsaturation) and fat A or either fat B or fat A alone. This demonstrates the technical feasibility of this approach to improve MIR testing accuracy for fat, if a simple procedure could be developed to determine the unsaturation of fat in milk rapidly and to correct the fat B reading for the effect of unsaturation before being combined with fat A.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Food Science
- Animal Science and Zoology