Fractionation by thermal crystallization, steam stripping, short-path distillation, supercritical fluid extraction, or crystallization using solvents can achieve fat alterations of significance to the dairy industry. Milk fat is a mixture of triglycerides with a range of molecular weights, degrees of unsaturation, melting points, and other physical properties. Milk fat is an important component of most dairy products, but it has been consumed traditionally for the most part as butter.
Fractionation of butter fat for the selective removal of cholesterol has been recently reported using supercritical fluid extraction (31), steam stripping or deodorization (32), short-path molecular distillation (33), and absorption processes (28). Various enzymatic investigations are under way to isolate cholesterol reductase (34) and to insert the gene for cholesterol reductase into lactic and acid bacteria biogenetically (35), resulting in the reduction of the dairy fat cholesterol to its major by-product, coprostanol.
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