A1 A2 proteins in milk products 1420x600px

AsureQuality offers new testing for A1 / A2 proteins in milk products

in Laboratory Testing
Author: AsureQuality

Milk containing A2 β-caseins (beta-caseins) has gained prominence in the dairy industry and among consumers in recent years, thanks to claims about its health benefits. AsureQuality is pleased to offer the first robust and reliable method for the simultaneous quantitative analysis of A1 and A2 β-caseins in finished milk products.

β-caseins are one class of protein found in bovine (cow) milk, with two genetic variants, A2 β-casein and A1 β-casein. The two variants are nutritionally very similar, but differ in the way they are broken down in the digestive system, due to the difference in a single amino acid. When milk containing the A1 variant is digested, a protein called beta-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) is produced. BCM-7 is an opioid peptide (neurotransmitter) that can cross the gastrointestinal wall and enter circulation, enabling it to influence systemic and cellular activities through opioid receptors.

Bovine milk that is free of A1 β-casein is now available in markets across the world and is widely promoted as being easier to digest for those who have difficulty with regular milk. Infant formulas containing only A2 β-casein are also marketed as being more palatable on the infant digestive system. The therapeutic claims influence market behaviours and drive a premium price for A2 products, so testing is essential to safeguard consumers and maintain the integrity of products in the market.

Until now, the only reliable method for ensuring that finished milk products contained only the A2 variant was through genotyping of herds to ensure that all animals carried the A2/A2 gene. AsureQuality’s new test enables finished milk products to be tested for A1 and A2 β-caseins to a high degree of sensitivity, meeting international criteria for standard method performance requirements.

The new AsureQuality Capillary Zone Electrophoresis (CZE) method has been developed and validated specifically for bovine milk based infant formula, milk, and milk powders, and is expected to gain IANZ accreditation within the next few months. It enables simultaneous determination A1 and A2 β-caseins above the established limit of reporting value of 27 mg/100g (0.027%).