Estimation of genetic parameters for cheese-making traits in Spanish Churra sheep
Área de conocimiento
Título de la revista
Journal of Dairy Science
Número de la revista
Artículo de investigación
The global production of sheep milk is growing, and the main industrial use of sheep milk is cheese making. The Spanish Churra sheep breed is one of the most important native dairy breeds in Spain. The present study aimed to estimate genetic parameters for a wide range of traits influencing the cheese-making ability of Churra sheep milk. Using a total of 1,049 Churra ewes, we studied the following cheese-making traits: 4 traits related to milk coagulation properties (rennet coagulation time, curd-firming time, and curd firmness at 30 and 60 min after addition of rennet), 2 traits related to cheese yield (individual laboratory cheese yield and individual laboratory dried curd yield), and 3 traits measuring curd firmness over time (maximum curd firmness, time to attain maximum curd firmness, and syneresis). In addition, a list of milk traits, including the native pH of the milk and several milk production and composition traits (milk yield; the fat, protein, and dried extract percentages; and the somatic cell count), were also analyzed for the studied animals. After discarding the noncoagulating samples (only 3.7%), data of 1,010 ewes were analyzed with multiple-trait animal models by using the restricted maximum likelihood method to estimate (co)variance components, heritabilities, and genetic correlations. In general, the heritability estimates were low to moderate, ranging from 0.08 (for the individual laboratory dried curd yield trait) to 0.42 (for the fat percentage trait). High genetic correlations were found within pairs of related traits (i.e., 0.93 between fat and dried extract percentages, −0.93 between the log of the curd-firming time and curd firmness at 30 min, 0.70 between individual laboratory cheese yield and individual laboratory dried curd yield, and −0.94 between time to attain maximum curd firmness and syneresis). Considering all the information provided here, we suggest that in addition to the current consideration of the protein percentage trait for improving cheese yield traits, the inclusion of the pH of milk as a measured trait in the Churra dairy breeding program would represent an efficient strategy for improving the cheese-making ability of milk from this breed.
Proyecto LE249P18 Junta de Castilla y León