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Caseins are generally classified into two categories depending on the way they are extracted. A distinction is made between acid casein, obtained by acid precipitation of pasteurized skimmed milk, and rennet casein, obtained by enzymatic precipitation.


For acid casein, the skimmed milk is acidified at pH 4.6 through the action of the acids (HCl or H2SO4) or lactic ferments. At this pH, the micellar complex is destroyed and the caseins cake up and precipitate in the form of a  coagulum. This coagulum is next centrifuged, washed to eliminate the acid and, finally, dried then ground, yielding powdered acid casein.


For rennet casein, the skimmed milk is coagulated through the action of the rennet (an enzymatic calf stomach extract or having a microbial origin). The latter acts specifically on κ casein  by breaking a link in the protein chain. This causes the appearance of two fragments, one precipitating in the presence of calcium (the para-κ-casein), the other remaining soluble. As the κ casein is essential for stability of the micellar complex (colloidal stabilizer function), the latter also precipitates with the para-κ-casein in the form of a curd: rennet casein. As with acid casein, rennet casein is next purified then washed with before being dried and ground.

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