Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

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Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby SciameriKen on March 1st, 2011, 1:22 am 

Greetings Science Chat Forum Enthusiasts,

The Fun Science Forums were set up to show off fun science and small scale science experiments and I thank you for this opportunity to showcase and discuss my Scientific AmeriKen Experiments. Additionally, I have encouraged my users to come here to use these forums to discuss science!

So my current experiment is entitled:
Regular Milk vs Organic Milk: On the biochemical Level - is there a difference?
http://scientificameriken.com/cover_feb11.asp (webzine cover)
http://scientificameriken.com/mlk.asp (experiment)

My experiment seeks to uncover any potential differences between regular and organic milk using a few simple biochemical techniques - please enjoy :D

-SciAmeriKen
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2011, 11:39 am 

Excellent, looking forward to taking a closer look at this. On a related note, have you noticed that milk labeled as "organic" tends to spoil less rapidly in your fridge? Or is this just confirmation bias from my end?
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby SciameriKen on March 1st, 2011, 1:05 pm 

True from my observations as well - in fact back when I used milk I'd buy the organic just for that reason since I used it so rarely. It would be like almost a month difference I wonder what causes that?
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2011, 1:08 pm 

Isn't that strange? If we're to assume that bacteria is what spoils the milk, and non-organic milk is bound to have more antibiotics in it, it just seems counter intuitive. Maybe some hormone that stimulates bacterial growth? Too much contamination by crowding and less sanitary living conditions?
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2011, 1:10 pm 

Hey that brings up an important question. Wanna do a streak test comparison? Is pasteurization working as well as it's thought to be? Hmmm
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby CanadysPeak on March 1st, 2011, 1:20 pm 

Organic milk is often pasteurized at a higher temperature. That increases the cost, but that's easy to hide in the organic differential.
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2011, 1:23 pm 

Just looked at the experiment. Great stuff! What do you think proteins A and D are? Also, so you think F is more enriched in organic milk as well?
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2011, 1:24 pm 

CanadysPeak wrote:Organic milk is often pasteurized at a higher temperature. That increases the cost, but that's easy to hide in the organic differential.


I wonder why that is? Maybe it has something to do with what Ameriken found?
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby Nick on March 1st, 2011, 3:25 pm 

I don't like organic milk because it sucks to be an organic milk cow. They get sick more often and can have some pretty crappy remedies for ailments if the farmer decides it's worth keeping them organic. For example, the "organic" treatment for mastitis involves force feeding the cows a hell of a lot of chillies. While this might be something I do for fun every (I can't get enough habanero salsa) so often cow's don't seem to enjoy it so much.

As for less sanitary/more crowded living conditions: I don't think the status as organic has anything to do with these factors, other than the fact that it's less sanitary to live with a bunch of cows that haven't been vaccinated.
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2011, 3:30 pm 

Hmm are you sure that's what organic cow milk means? The thought of a factory cow having a better quality of life than a farm cow makes me cringe.
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby CanadysPeak on March 1st, 2011, 4:06 pm 

BioWizard wrote:
CanadysPeak wrote:Organic milk is often pasteurized at a higher temperature. That increases the cost, but that's easy to hide in the organic differential.


I wonder why that is? Maybe it has something to do with what Ameriken found?


Nah. Most non-organic milk comes from just up the road, one maybe two days from the store. There are, I believe, only two major organic suppliers, so transit time is much greater. They need it to keep longer so they can ship longer.
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby CanadysPeak on March 1st, 2011, 4:14 pm 

BioWizard wrote:Hmm are you sure that's what organic cow milk means? The thought of a factory cow having a better quality of life than a farm cow makes me cringe.


Check USDA regs. There have been unscrupulous dairymen who have figured out how to bend the rules, but access to pasture means grass. As for vaccines, they get the necessary ones. The main thing missing in organic milk (By the way, I drink local rather than organic, so I'm not a shill for the industry) are the antibiotics required to keep a cow alive once you go to a high corn diet. A cow in a feedlot, on mostly corn, will die without antibiotics. A cow eating forage has no need.
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2011, 5:28 pm 

CanadysPeak wrote:As for vaccines, they get the necessary ones. The main thing missing in organic milk (By the way, I drink local rather than organic, so I'm not a shill for the industry) are the antibiotics required to keep a cow alive once you go to a high corn diet. A cow in a feedlot, on mostly corn, will die without antibiotics. A cow eating forage has no need.


Yeah, that's what I thought/meant.
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby BioWizard on March 1st, 2011, 5:30 pm 

CanadysPeak wrote:
BioWizard wrote:
CanadysPeak wrote:Organic milk is often pasteurized at a higher temperature. That increases the cost, but that's easy to hide in the organic differential.


I wonder why that is? Maybe it has something to do with what Ameriken found?


Nah. Most non-organic milk comes from just up the road, one maybe two days from the store. There are, I believe, only two major organic suppliers, so transit time is much greater. They need it to keep longer so they can ship longer.


Hmmm, and maybe the industry wants your milk to spoil faster so you buy new milk sooner, from their faster closer supply line. Conspiracy!
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Re: Regular vs Organic Milk: Biochemical Differences

Postby SciameriKen on March 2nd, 2011, 1:38 am 

BioWizard wrote:Just looked at the experiment. Great stuff! What do you think proteins A and D are? Also, so you think F is more enriched in organic milk as well?



My guess on A is that it may be an aggregate of one of the standard proteins - it might be possible that I didn't heat my samples long enough before running on the gel and I didn't break all the disulfide bonds. Of course that wouldn't explain why it was found in the organic and not the regular milk.

As far as D, and F - good find - one possibility is perhaps something in that organic milk is cleaving the serum albumin (Band C - MW ~60kD), D protein was ~40 kD and F protein was ~20kD. Perhaps this is what caused the slightly foul taste I noticed when I sampled the milk?

Its anyone's guess and I guess could be solved with the right biochemical techniques :)
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