There are also differences in the butter fat of different cows on identical rations, and the age of the animal and duration of lactation have some influence on butter fat composition. Much of the dairy literature provides information relating dairy animal species and the composition of the butter fat from them.
Textural characteristics of butter are significantly dependent on milk fat composition and method of manufacture. It is possible, therefore, knowing the chemical composition of milk fat, to select the appropriate technological parameters of butter making to improve the texture. To obtain butter with constant rheological characteristics and to control the parameters of the butter-making process it is necessary to consider the difference in the chemical compositions and the properties of the milk fat in various seasons.
From the standpoint of nutritional value, the vitamin A content of butter is important. Because the source of vitamin A in butter is /?-carotene or other carotenoid pigments in the feed of the cows, the content of this vitamin varies considerably, being highest in the summer when the dairy herds are in pasture and lowest in winter when there are no green feedstuffs in the rations. A portion of the carotene in the feed that is transferred by the cow into the butter fat varies with the feeding regimen parallel to variations in the production of vitamin A, so that the intensity of the yellow color of butter to some extent serves to indicate its vitamin A content.
The vitamin A potency of butter is in part due to vitamin A as such and in part to carotene, which is partially converted to the vitamin in the human body. The vitamin A content of butter is usually within the range of 6 to 12 mg/g, and the carotene content is in the range of 2 to 10 mg/g (17); 1IU of vitamin A is defined as the amount possessing the biological activity of 0.6 fig of pure /^-carotene.
The vitamin D content of butter is much less significant than that of vitamin A, but it is nevertheless appreciable. It varies from about 0.1 to 1.0 IU/g, being highest in the summer and lowest in the winter (17).
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