According to researchers at the University of Debrecen (DE), A2 milk is the biggest innovation in the dairy industry in recent years, as it causes fewer digestive complaints than marketed milk due to its specific protein structure. Researchers at DE have begun mapping cattle breeds that produce the so-called super milk, the institution said on its website.
“In Hungary, we mainly consume the milk of the A1 and A2 beta-casein protein genotypes, as the Holstein-Friesian breed of cows, which is the number one dairy cattle in Europe and in Hungary producing such milk.”
– the statement quotes Béla Béri, a professor of the Department of Animal Husbandry at the university.
According to him, the department is studying the breeding of four dairy cattle breeds and the Carpathian badger cattle breeds, as these breeds presumably produce A2 milk.
Current laboratory studies focus on the English jersey variety, which, while producing less milk than the Holstein-Friesian, has a much better fat and protein content and produces A2 milk based on the first results, the researcher explained.
He added that A2 milk does not contain the type of protein that causes digestive problems. In their research, ear cartilage samples collected from the herd are used to determine, among other genetic characteristics, whether an individual belongs to type A1 or type A2.
The appearance of the protein that may cause problems is a consequence of a genetic modification or mutation, so it does not appear in older cattle breeds. The Holstein-Friesian predominantly produces A1 milk, however, there are individuals that are also capable of producing “Supermilk”. By selecting and using breeding bulls that inherit A2, which are involved in artificial insemination, the milk protein composition of Holstein-Friesian breeds can also change favorably, and since there can be hundreds of thousands of offspring from a single animal, fast results can be achieved – said Béla Béri.
The associate professor said the samples are currently being analyzed in Canada, but the technical conditions are also given locally. Researchers want to have molecular genetic tests performed in the laboratory of the DE Faculty of Agriculture, Food Science and Environmental Management in the near future, and the tests can serve as a certificate for cattle farmers to verify the protein composition of the milk produced by their herd.
The Hungarian dairy industry is also monitoring the investigations, and market participants are also agreeing on the distribution of A2 milk, the expert added, noting that milk consumption is low in Hungary, and the aim of the research is to boost this market.