NFOK17002U Molecular and Functional Properties of Milk

Volume 2017/2018

MSc Programme in Food Science and Technology


The course primarily deals with the following subjects:

Milk production: Influence of housing and feeding regime, Milking and its influence on raw milk quality, Organic production of milk and Feed quality.

The physical chemistry of milk processing: Milk as a colloidal system (physical-chemical aspects), The effect of heat treatment on milk such as denaturatin and aggregation, the Maillard reaction and analytical separation processes used to characterise this such as chromatographical techniques. Some aspects will be covered regarding the effects of processes on the bioactivity of milk ingredients.

Functionality of milk constituents: Solubility, Interfacial properties, Gelation properties, Functional milk fat, Uses of lactose and minerals, Health functionality/bioactivity.

Learning Outcome

This course has the overall aim of providing students with a detailed knowledge of both theoretical and practical aspects of the molecular, colloidal and functional properties of milk and milk production. In addition, the functionality of food ingredients derived from milk will be covered.

After completing the course the student should be able to:


  • Describe the colloidal interactions governing stabilization and destabilization of milk and dairy products
  • State the major factors influencing milk production and raw milk quality, including milk storage
  • Outline the factors affecting milk ingredient functionality in food systems
  • Appreciate the effects of dairy production and processing on milk at a molecular level


  • Apply the principles of colloid science to milk processing and milk ingredient functionality
  • Structure a scientific presentation and produce a condensed synopsis


  • Understand the effects of basic thermal processes on milk components and the effects of the feed
  • Discuss the factors influencing milk ingredient functionality
  • Reflect on the health functionality/​bioactivity of milk constituents
  • Recognise the importance of working effectively in a group during laboratory practicals

See Absalon for a list of course literature.

Knowledge equivalent to a dairy internship is recommended.
The course consists of lectures and tutorials (4-8 hrs/week) and laboratory practicals (4-8 hrs/week), as well as e-learning, and field trips.
Lectures and tutorials provide an overview of milk quality and thermal processing on the fuctionality and bioactivity of milk and milk ingredients. Laboratory practicals dealing with aspects of milk as a colloidal system and milk protein functionality are also included as well as excursions. Part of the module (three days during one week) will take place at The Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Aarhus University, Jutland and a one-day trip to Arla Foods, Brabrand, Jutland.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • E-Learning
  • 3
  • Exam
  • 10
  • Excursions
  • 30
  • Lectures
  • 26
  • Practical exercises
  • 32
  • Preparation
  • 90
  • Theory exercises
  • 15
  • Total
  • 206
Continuous feedback during the course of the semester
Feedback by final exam (In addition to the grade)
Peer feedback (Students give each other feedback)
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
Oral examination based on the preparation of a synopsis of a subject within the curriculum. One week prior to the actual exam, students draw a subject and prepare a written synopsis (1-4 pages), which will be given to the examiners and then presented orally. The presentation should take no more than 10 minutes. Following the presentation the internal examiners will ask questions for 5-10 minutes.
Exam registration requirements

Approval of reports from practicals

All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Several internal examiners

Same as ordinary exam (preparation of new synopsis and oral exam as described). Reports from practicals must be handed in for approval two weeks prior to reexamination.



Criteria for exam assesment

See Learning Outcome