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Estimates of heritability and genetic correlations for milk coagulation properties and individual laboratory cheese yield in Sarda ewes

  • A. Puledda (a1), G. Gaspa (a1), M. G. Manca (a1), J. Serdino (a1), P. P. Urgeghe (a1), C. Dimauro (a1), R. Negrini (a2) (a3) and N. P. P. Macciotta (a1)...


Objective of this study was to estimate genetic parameters of milk coagulation properties (MCPs) and individual laboratory cheese yield (ILCY) in a sample of 1018 Sarda breed ewes farmed in 47 flocks. Rennet coagulation time (RCT), curd-firming time (k 20) and curd firmness (a 30) were measured using Formagraph instrument, whereas ILCY were determined by a micromanufacturing protocol. About 10% of the milk samples did not coagulate within 30 min and 13% had zero value for k 20. The average ILCY was 36%. (Co)variance components of considered traits were estimated by fitting both single- and multiple-trait animal models. Flock-test date explained from 13% to 28% of the phenotypic variance for MCPs and 26% for ILCY, respectively. The largest value of heritability was estimated for RCT (0.23±0.10), whereas it was about 0.15 for the other traits. Negative genetic correlations between RCT and a 30 (−0.80±0.12), a 30 and k 20 (−0.91±0.09), and a 30 and ILCY (−0.67±0.08) were observed. Interesting genetic correlations between MCPs and milk composition (r G>0.40) were estimated for pH, NaCl and casein. Results of the present study suggest to use only one out of three MCPs to measure milk renneting ability, due to high genetic correlations among them. Moreover, negative correlations between ILCY and MCPs suggest that great care should be taken when using these methods to estimate cheese yield from small milk samples.


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