Commercial milk is homogenized for the purpose of physical stability, thereby reducing fat droplet size and including caseins and some whey proteins at the droplet interface. This seems to result in a better digestibility than untreated milk. Various casein peptides and milk fat globule membrane (MFGM) proteins are reported to present either harmful (e.g. atherogenic) or beneficial bioactivity (e.g. hypotensive, anticarcinogenic and others). Homogenization might enhance either of these effects, but this remains controversial. The effect of homogenization has not been studied regarding the link between early cow's milk consumption and occurrence of type I diabetes in children prone to the disease and no link appears in the general population. Homogenization does not influence milk allergy and intolerance in allergic children and lactose-intolerant or milk-hypersensitive adults. The impact of homogenization, as well as heating and other treatments such as cheesemaking processes, on the health properties of milk and dairy products remains to be fully elucidated.
(Received May 24 2006)
(Revised October 11 2006)
(Accepted October 13 2006)
Abbreviations: BXO, bovine xanthine oxidase; d32, volume-surface mean diameter (Sauter diameter) of fat droplets; d43, volume moment mean diameter of fat droplets; β-Lg, β-lactoglobulin; MFGM, milk fat globule membrane; UHT, ultra-high temperature