Milk protein research may lead to understanding of age-related diseases in humans
Gelling is a known problem in UHT milk. Milk proteins undergo structural change after being briefly heated to around 140°C to make UHT milk and two unrelated proteins aggregate in UHT milk, which, over several months, causes the milk to transform from a liquid into a gel. The protein clusters in the UHT milk, called amyloid fibrils, do not form in pasteurised milk.
Professor John Carver from the Research School of Chemistry at the Australian National University said the same type of protein clusters are found in plaque deposits in cases of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Now, Prof Carver is working with a team from ANU, CSIRO, the University of Wollongong and international researchers to investigate how amyloid fibrils form with the hope that better understanding of this phenomenon will ultimately lead to improved treatments for the age-related diseases. Results have been published, Coaggregation of κ-Casein and β-Lactoglobulin Produces Morphologically Distinct Amyloid Fibrils, in the journal Small.
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