The guarantee for the milk consumer about the purity of the product or even the digestive discomfort when eating dairy products comes from research and technology to identify the different genetics of proteins in dairy production. With the studies, researchers are able to identify the genetics of each animal, such as for milk type A2A2, a product recently authorized for people who are not lactose intolerant, but have some discomfort when consuming milk.
“In the laboratory, we use a methodology to assess the genetic composition of the bovine. Studies have been carried out for a decade, and also in this specific case of A2A2 milk genotyping. In countries like the United States, New Zealand and Australia, tests have been carried out for more than 20 years to identify in which region in the animal there is beta-casein, which are more common in dairy cattle the variants of types A1 and A2”, says researcher Aníbal Eugênio Vercesi Filho.
He explains that 20% of the population has some discomfort when consuming milk with A1 proteins. “It’s similar to lactose intolerance, but it’s not the same situation. Often the consumer did not have access to this type of milk or was unaware that this milk exists specifically for this more difficult digestion, which he felt when consuming the product”.
The research developed at the Instituto de Zootecnia also allows, according to Aníbal, the identification of animals, being important for the breeder who wants to produce milk of the A2A2 type. The work, unprecedented in the country, was important, according to the researcher, for farmers and the milk industry to obtain approval from the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Supply (Mapa), for the sale of the new product, which already has several Brazilian brands in the market.
In the laboratory of the Research Center for Genetics and Animal Reproduction, in Nova Odessa, the researcher also says that the technology collaborates with other analyses, such as to prove the purity of the milk that is commercialized, avoiding possible fraud in the commercialization of milk and derivatives. “It is possible to identify minimum amounts of mixture. With 1% of the volume analyzed, we are already able to evaluate it”, points out Aníbal.
According to the researcher, all analyzes that carry the seal of purity of the animals that produce buffalo milk are also carried out in the laboratory. “The brands that have certification for buffalo milk, for example, do the test and this allows checking whether or not there is a mix with other types of milk. This is important for the consumer, since there are many dairy products, such as cheeses and yogurts, when they buy milk or other derivatives”, highlights Aníbal.
Aníbal adds that these technologies are also developed for other animals, such as sheep and goats. With the milk sample from the animals, the researcher explains that it is possible to extract DNA (the specific region where the reaction is found in the laboratory analysis), in addition to meat products.
Research in the area is important
With 75 years in dairy production, Diana Jank’s family has a lot of experience with animals and believes that scientific studies and research contribute to improving the farm and the industrialization of milk. “We are already in the third generation of producers, my grandfather was one of the forerunners of artificial insemination in Brazil and my father sought to study type A2 milk since 2016”, says Diana, rural producer and marketing director at Letti.
Before Brazil, with the technology to be presented by the Institute of Animal Science, Diana says that the genetic test of the animals needed to be sent to the United States for genotyping. Diana adds that the studies helped to prove animals with A2A2 proteins, now made in the Brazilian laboratory, also making it possible to separate the herd for the specific production of this type of milk. “In 2018 we managed to certify the farm for the production of A2A2 type milk”.
Diana recalls that the research, started in New Zealand, was able to identify people with digestive discomfort caused by the consumption of milk. “Many consumers had difficulty fully digesting the A1 protein found in most commercially available milk and dairy products.”
Even certified as the first brand to have the A2A2 product on the market, Diana said that it still needed to make this clearer to the consumer. “At the end of 2021, Anvisa presented the regulation and now the label has become easier for the consumer to understand, with the inclusion of easily digestible milk”, highlights Diana. (CC)
The detection of milk proteins and the studies carried out by the researchers receive approval from the associations of animal breeders. According to the president of the Brazilian Association of Buffalo Breeders (ABCB), Caio Vinicius Rossato, the seal of purity and certification of buffalo milk are important for breeders of these animals, especially when they are supported by research.
“The research carried out by the Instituto de Zootecnia and the database that researcher Aníbal has are extremely important for the marketing of buffalo dairy products. This guarantees the consumer that the product is made 100% with buffalo milk”.
Caio also adds that it is a public health issue when performing the laboratory analysis of the product derived from buffalo milk. He believes that the analysis detects any other type of protein added to buffalo milk, avoiding any type of mixture, which is a guarantee of quality for those who will consume the product.
Renato Ramires Filho, president of the São Paulo Association of Angus Breeders, considers the development of genetic research important. “For several factors, among them, to add quality and value to the product”. In beef cattle, such as the production of angus animals, Renato recalls that everything is very consumer-oriented, with a product that relies on tastier and more tender meat, such as angus beef. (CC)
Researcher Aníbal Eugênio Vercesi Filho: with the milk sample it is possible to extract DNA (Disclosure)
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