Cheese yield is an important technological trait in the dairy industry in many countries. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of Fourier-transform infrared (FTIR) spectral analysis of fresh unprocessed milk samples for predicting cheese yield and nutrient recovery traits. A total of 1,264 model cheeses were obtained from 1,500-mL milk samples collected from individual Brown Swiss cows. Individual measurements of 7 new cheese yield-related traits were obtained from the laboratory cheese-making procedure, including the fresh cheese yield, total solid cheese yield, and the water retained in curd, all as a percentage of the processed milk, and nutrient recovery (fat, protein, total solids, and energy) in the curd as a percentage of the same nutrient contained in the milk. All individual milk samples were analyzed using a MilkoScan FT6000 over the spectral range from 5,000 to 900 wavenumber Ã cm-1. Two spectral acquisitions were carried out for each sample and the results were averaged before data analysis. Different chemometric models were fitted and compared with the aim of improving the accuracy of the calibration equations for predicting these traits. The most accurate predictions were obtained for total solid cheese yield and fresh cheese yield, which exhibited coefficients of determination between the predicted and measured values in cross-validation (1-VR) of 0.95 and 0.83, respectively. A less favorable result was obtained for water retained in curd (1-VR=0.65). Promising results were obtained for recovered protein (1-VR=0.81), total solids (1-VR=0.86), and energy (1-VR=0.76), whereas recovered fat exhibited a low accuracy (1-VR=0.41). As FTIR spectroscopy is a rapid, cheap, high-throughput technique that is already used to collect standard milk recording data, these FTIR calibrations for cheese yield and nutrient recovery highlight additional potential applications of the technique in the dairy industry, especially for monitoring cheese-making processes and milk payment systems. In addition, the prediction models can be used to provide breeding organizations with information on new phenotypes for cheese yield and milk nutrient recovery, potentially allowing these traits to be enhanced through selection. Â© 2013 American Dairy Science Association.
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