This is my first time posting on the biology online forums, so a hello to you all. I am interested in learning more about milk, more particularly cow’s milk, on a molecular level and although I don’t have a specific question I thought it would be beneficial to start a dialogue with my current understanding and build from there. So a thank you in advance to anyone who could offer a critique. This is how I understand things so far:
Milk is an emulsion of fat molecules in water. Unhomogenized milk is unstable due to the large groupings of fat molecules rising to the top. The fat is less dense and because they are in large clumps, the clumps can overcome van der waals forces and separate to the top. Homogenized milk is milk that has had the fat clumps broken up. Once the fat molecules have been broken up, emulsifiers such as casein micelles (which I believe are the stuff of cell membranes, phospholipids arranged with the hydrophilic head facing out and hydrophobic tail facing in) house the fat cells and proteins. And the stabilizing effect of the micelles is due to the negatively charged tails of kappacasein sticking out of the micelles and therefore repelling one another.
This is just a starting point, I know I’m missing things, thanks for any help.