|The following news story appeared in the IOWA STATE DAILY Tuesday, January 23, 2001. The article is reprinted here with grateful permission.|
Two ISU professors aree trying to improve the composition of dairy products by idntifying dairy cattle with more healthful milk fat.
Donald Beitz, distinguished professor of animal science, said this is the third year of research for the testing of the variation of milk composition. the reesearch, supported by Land O Lakes and the ISU Center for Advanced technology Development, ahs focused on finding and comparing ways to make products of diverse kinds of milk, Beitz said.
"Milk fat is one of the atherogenic fats that we eat," said Earl Hammond, university professor of food science and human nutrition, who is working with Beitz on the research. "It is not as atherogenic as corn oil, which is used in artificial toppings, but [Americans] do not eat as much of those."
The researchers are analyzing the fat and making dairy products of milk with low atherogenic fat, milk with high atherogenic fat and bulk tank milk, Hammond said.
" Milk fat that is healthier makes softer butter, [which is]' easier to spread," Beitz said. "The products that can be improved are any products with fat, such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream -- everything but no-fat cheese and skim milk."
They have noticed texture changes, but not taste changes, Hammond said. It is not the amount of fat the researchers are changing, but the composition of fat and labeling makes it eithe runsautrated or saturated fat, he said.
Hammond said the fat has a different appearance, and the labeling of these new milk products will be different.
"Fatty-acid composition varies with breeds," Beitz said. "We are experimenting with Holsteins, and 3.5 percent of their milk is fat. We are using Holsteins at the Iowa State Univeristy Dairy Breeding Farm in Ankeny and the Land O Lakes Answer Farm in Webster City. The potential application is to select cows by selected stands and use them to make a niche market. Breeders could select cattle with more healthful milk."
Beitz said they are trying to get more funding for future work and would like to expand to testing the new milk products on humans.
He said he thinks the public will react positively and will be thankful for a more healthful product.
"There is room for improvement, and we think we know what is more helpful," he said.