Which are the main chemical components of milk?


Which are the main chemical components of milk?

The following components are found in milk-water, lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins and minerals.



This constitutes about 85-87% of milk. This is the main medium for the suspension of all other components.


Milk is an emulsion and the lipids are found in a globular form. The main lipids present in milk are triglycerides, phospholipids and cho­lesterol. The triglycerides are formed of a number of fatty acids such as palmitic acid, stearic acid, lauric acid, linolic acid etc. Lecithin, Cholin and many cerebrosides are other forms of fats present in milk. The per­centage of fats in milk varies in different breeds; it may vary from 3.5-5%.

The fatty substances in milk can be separated in a solid form by applying centrifugal force after it is allowed to get curdled. Butter, the concentrated fat of milk is an important food ingredient in human diet. Ghee is another product obtained by melting the butter.



The most important carbohydrate present in milk is lac­tose. It is commonly called milk sugar. Lactose is a disaccharide formed of two monomeres of monosaccharides-glucose and galactose.


Among the proteins, casine commonly called the milk protein is the most important constituent. In milk, casine combines with calcium forming calcium caseinate. For growing children casine is a very essential protein. Other proteins of milk include lactoalbumins and lactoglobulins.


Vitamins and minerals:

Milk contains a number of essential mineral ele­ments such as sodium, potasium, calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, io­dine etc. Among the vitamins, milk has B complex and vitamin C and A. Even vitamin D and E are present in milk.

With all these essential ingredients present no wonder the milk is an im­portant part in the balanced diet. This is especially so for growing children and convalceng people.

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