Casein (pronunciation: /ˈksiɪn/, from Latin caseus, "cheese") is the name for a family of related phosphoprotein proteins (αS1, αS2, β, κ). These proteins are commonly found in mammalian milk, making up 80% of the proteins in cow milk and between 60% and 65% of the proteins in human milk.[1] Casein has a wide variety of uses, from being a major component of cheese, to use as a food additive, to a binder for safety matches.[2] As a food source, casein supplies amino acids; carbohydrates; and two inorganic elements, calcium and phosphorus.[3]



Casein consists of a fairly high number of proline peptides, which do not interact. There are also no disulfide bridges. As a result, it has relatively little tertiary structure. It is relatively hydrophobic, making it poorly soluble in water. It is found in milk as a suspension of particles called casein micelles which show some resemblance with surfactant-type micellae in a sense that the hydrophilic parts reside at the surface. The caseins in the micelles are held together by calcium ions and hydrophobic interactions. Several models account for the special conformation of casein in the micelles (Dalgleish, 1998). One of them proposes the micellar nucleus is formed by several submicelles, the periphery consisting of microvellosities of κ-casein (Walstra, 1979; Lucey, 2002). Another model suggests the nucleus is formed by casein-interlinked fibrils (Holt, 1992). Finally, the most recent model (Horne, 1998) proposes a double link among the caseins for gelling to take place. All three models consider micelles as colloidal particles formed by casein aggregates wrapped up in soluble κ-casein molecules.

The isoelectric point of casein is 4.6. Since milk's pH is 6.6, casein has a negative charge in milk. The purified protein is water insoluble. While it is also insoluble in neutral salt solutions, it is readily dispersible in dilute alkalis and in salt solutions such as sodium oxalate and sodium acetate.

The enzyme trypsin can hydrolyze off a phosphate-containing peptone. It is used to form a type of organic adhesive.[4]



Casein paint is a fast-drying, water-soluble medium used by artists. Casein paint has been used since ancient Egyptian times as a form of tempera paint, and was widely used by commercial illustrators as the material of choice until the late 1960s when, with the advent of acrylic paint, casein became less popular.[citation needed]


Casein-based glues were popular for woodworking, including for aircraft, as late as the de Havilland Mosquito.[5]


Cheese consists of proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. It is produced by coagulation of casein. Typically, the milk is acidified and then coagulated by the addition of rennet, a proteolytic enzyme typically obtained from the stomachs of calves. The solids are separated and pressed into final form.[6]

Unlike many proteins, casein is not coagulated by heat. During the process of clotting, milk-clotting proteases act on the soluble portion of the caseins, κ-casein, thus originating an unstable micellar state that results in clot formation. When coagulated with chymosin, casein is sometimes called paracasein. Chymosin (EC is an aspartic protease that specifically hydrolyzes the peptide bond in Phe105-Met106 of κ-casein, and is considered to be the most efficient protease for the cheese-making industry (Rao et al., 1998). British terminology, on the other hand, uses the term caseinogen for the uncoagulated protein and casein for the coagulated protein. As it exists in milk, it is a salt of calcium.

Plastics and fiber

Some of the earliest plastics were based on casein. In particular, galalith was well-known for use in buttons. Fiber can be made from extruded casein. Lanital, a fabric made from casein fiber products, was particularly popular in Italy during the 1930s.

Protein supplements

An attractive property of the casein molecule is its ability to form a gel or clot in the stomach, which makes it very efficient in nutrient supply. The clot is able to provide a sustained slow release of amino acids into the blood stream, sometimes lasting for several hours.[7] This provides better nitrogen retention and use by the body.[8] Plasma immunoreactive IGF-1 concentration in rats given a casein diet was higher than that in rats given a soya-bean-protein or protein-free diet.[9] Because of its slow digesting properties, casein is widely used between meals and before bed to help bodybuilders maintain in an anabolic state.[10] Casein is also added to "Devotion Vodka,[11] " promoted by former reality star Mike "the Situation." [12]

Medical and dental uses

Casein-derived compounds are used in tooth remineralization products to stabilize amorphous calcium phosphate (ACP) and release the ACP onto tooth surfaces, where it can facilitate remineralization.[13][14]



Casein has been documented to break down to produce the peptide casomorphin, an opioid that appears to act primarily as a histamine releaser.[15] Some research indicates that this casomorphine aggravates the symptoms of autism.[16] A 2006 review of seven studies indicated that, although benefits were seen in all studies from the introduction of elimination diets (e.g., casein-free or gluten-free) in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders, none of the studies were performed in a manner to create an unbiased scientific opinion.[17] Preliminary data from the first and only double-blind randomized control trial of a gluten- and casein-free diet "indicated no statistically significant findings even though several parents reported improvement in their children."[18] Although research has shown high rates of use of complementary and alternative therapies (CAM) for children with autism, including gluten and/or casein exclusion diets,[citation needed] the evidence for efficacy of these diets is currently unsubstantiated.[19]

A1/A2 beta caseins

Four casein proteins make up about 80% of the protein in cow's milk. One of the major caseins is beta-casein, of which there are several types, but "A1" and "A2" are the most common. According to Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ),[20] certain breeds of cows, such as Friesians, produce mostly A1 milk, whereas other breeds, such as Guernseys, as well as sheep and goats, produce mostly A2 milk.

FSANZ also reports despite some hypotheses that consumption of A2 milk "provides levels of protection to consumers from autism in children as well as schizophrenia, diabetes and heart disease", the scientific evidence for such claims is "very limited".[20] Additionally, the European Food Safety Authority carried out a literature review in 2009 concluding "a cause and effect relationship is not established between the dietary intake of BCM7, related peptides or their possible protein precursors and non-communicable diseases" (see A2 milk). Studies supporting these claims have had significant flaws, and the data are inadequate to guide autism treatment recommendations.[21]


T. Colin Campbell's The China Study (2005), a book about one of the largest nutritional studies ever conducted, describes a direct correlation between casein administered to rats and the promotion of cancer cell growth when exposed to carcinogens. One group of rats was put on a 5% protein diet and another group on a 20% protein diet. Regardless of the amount of aflatoxin (a potent carcinogen) administered to these rats, none of the rats on 5% protein developed foci, precursors to cancerous cell growth, and every rat on 20% protein developed the pre-cancer foci. Other studies conducted by Dr. Campbell on humans confirmed this correlation between the amount of protein consumed and the promotion of cancerous cell growth. Basically, he discovered that cancer growth could be turned on and off by adjusting the amount of animal protein in the diet.[22] A 2001 study suggests another milk protein, whey protein, but not casein, may play a protective role against colon tumors in rats.[23] According to a study from the Australian Dairy Council, casein has antimutagenic effects.[24]

Casein-free diet

Casein has a molecular structure quite similar to that of gluten. Thus, some gluten-free diets are combined with casein-free diets and referred to as a gluten-free, casein-free diet. Casein is often listed as sodium caseinate, calcium caseinate or milk protein. These are often found in energy bars, drinks, and packaged goods. A small fraction of the population is allergic to casein.[25]

Altering the effects of polyphenols

A study of Charité Hospital in Berlin by Lorenzo et al., published in The European Heart Journal, showed adding milk to tea causes the casein to bind to the molecules in tea that cause the arteries to relax, especially a catechin molecule called EGCG, although a more recent study by Reddy et al. (2005) suggests the addition of milk to tea does not alter the antioxidant activity in vivo,[26] and the cardiovascular effect remains controversial.[27][28] A study published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine indicates casein reduced the peak plasma levels of beneficial polyphenols after the consumption of blueberries.[citation needed]

Drug-casein interaction

Caseinate salts have been shown to reduce the bioavailability of some drugs, including phenytoin. A patient on this drug should consult their doctor about altering their diet so that the efficacy of the drug is not diminished.[29]

See also


  1. ^ Kunz, C; Lonnerdal, B (1990). "Human-milk proteins: analysis of casein and casein subunits...". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (The American Society for Clinical Nutrition) 51 (1): 37–46. PMID 1688683. Retrieved 14 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Industrial Casein", National Casein Company
  3. ^ "The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia". casein. Sixth Edition. Columbia University. 2011 
  4. ^ "CCMR - Ask A Scientist!". 1998-09-24. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  5. ^ "History of the de Havilland Mosquito", RAAF Museum
  6. ^ Fankhauser, David B. (2007). "Fankhauser's Cheese Page". Retrieved 2007-09-23. 
  7. ^ Boirie, Y., Dangin, M., Gachon, P., Vasson, M.P., Maubois, J.L. and Beaufrere, B. (1997) "Slow and fast dietary proteins differently modulate postprandial protein accretion." Proclamations of National Academy of Sciences 94, 14930-14935.
  8. ^ Jay R. Hoffman and Michael J. Falvo (2004). "Protein - Which is best?". Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (3): 118–130. 
  9. ^ Miura, Y.; Kato, H.; Noguchi, T. (2007). "Effect of dietary proteins on insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) messenger ribonucleic acid content in rat liver". British Journal of Nutrition 67 (2): 257. doi:10.1079/BJN19920029. PMID 1596498.  edit
  10. ^ "All About Casein". Sports Supplement Reviewer. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  11. ^ [1]
  12. ^ Laliberte, Kristian (2010-08-24). "The Situation Is The New Spokesman For Body-Building Devotion Vodka". Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  13. ^ Louis Malcmacher. "Enamel Remineralization: The Medical Model of Practicing Dentistry". Dentistry Today. 
  14. ^ Glenn Walker, Fan Cai, Peiyan Shen, Coralie Reynolds, Brent Ward, Christopher Fone, Shuji Honda, Megumi Koganei, Munehiro Oda and Eric Reynolds (2006). "Increased remineralization of tooth enamel by milk containing added casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate". Journal of Dairy Research 73 (1): 74–78. doi:10.1017/S0022029905001482. PMID 16433964. 
  15. ^ Kurek M, Przybilla B, Hermann K, Ring J (1992). "A naturally occurring opioid peptide from cow's milk, beta-casomorphine-7, is a direct histamine releaser in man". Int Arch Allergy Immunol. 97 (2): 115–20. doi:10.1159/000063326. PMID 1374738. 
  16. ^ Zhongjie Sun, J. Robert Cade, Melvin J. Fregly, R. Malcolm Privette (March 1999). " -Casomorphin Induces Fos-Like Immunoreactivity in Discrete Brain Regions Relevant to Schizophrenia and Autism". Austim 3 (1): 67–83. doi:10.1177/1362361399003001006. 
  17. ^ Christison GW, Ivany K (2006). "Elimination diets in autism spectrum disorders: any wheat amidst the chaff?". J Dev Behav Pediatr 27 (2 Suppl 2): S162–71. doi:10.1097/00004703-200604002-00015. PMID 16685183. 
  18. ^ Elder JH, Shankar M, Shuster J, Theriaque D, Burns S, Sherrill L (April 2006). "The gluten-free, casein-free diet in autism: results of a preliminary double blind clinical trial". J Autism Dev Disord 36 (3): 413–20. doi:10.1007/s10803-006-0079-0. PMID 16555138. 
  19. ^ Millward C, Ferriter M, Calver S, Connell-Jones G. Gluten- and casein-free diets for autistic spectrum disorder. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2008, Issue 2. Art. No.: CD003498. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD003498.pub3.
  20. ^ a b A1 and A2 Milk (14 September 2007), Food Standards Australia New Zealand
  21. ^ Christison GW, Ivany K (2006). "Elimination diets in autism spectrum disorders: any wheat amidst the chaff?". J Dev Behav Pediatr 27 (2 Suppl 2): S162. doi:10.1097/00004703-200604002-00015. PMID 16685183. 
  22. ^ Campbell, T. Colin and Campbell, Thomas M. The China Study. Benbella Books, 2006, pp. 60, 65.
  23. ^ Hakkak, et al. "Dietary Whey Protein Protects against Azoxymethane-induced Colon Tumors in Male Rats," Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention, Vol. 10, May 2001, pp. 555–558.
  24. ^ Parodi, P.W. "A Role for Milk Proteins and their Peptides in Cancer Prevention," Current Pharmaceutical Design, Vol. 13, No. 8, March 2007, pp. 813–828.
  25. ^ "Identification of casein as the major allergenic and antigenic protein of cow's milk - Docena - 2007 - Allergy - Wiley Online Library". 1996-03-04. Retrieved 2011-09-29. 
  26. ^ Reddy VC, Vidya Sagar GV, Sreeramulu D, Venu L, Raghunath M (2005). "Addition of milk does not alter the antioxidant activity of black tea". Ann Nutr Metab. 49 (3): 189–95. doi:10.1159/000087071. PMID 16020939. 
  27. ^ Prabhakar VR, Venkatesan N (June 2007). "Milk casein and its benefits on cardiovascular risk". Eur Heart J. 28 (11): 1397; author reply 1397–8. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehm106. PMID 17483526. 
  28. ^ Lorenz M, Jochmann N, von Krosigk A, et al. (January 2007). "Addition of milk prevents vascular protective effects of tea". Eur. Heart J. 28 (2): 219–23. doi:10.1093/eurheartj/ehl442. PMID 17213230. 
  29. ^ Smith OB, Longe RL, Altman RE, Price JC.. Recovery of phenytoin from solutions of caseinate salts and calcium chloride.. PMID 3129937. 


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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Casein — oder Kasein (lat. caseus = Käse) ist der Name für denjenigen Proteinanteil der Milch der höheren Säugetiere, der nicht in die Molke gelangt und der beispielsweise zu Käse weiterverarbeitet wird. Es ist eine Mischung aus mehreren Proteinen (αS1,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Casein — Ca se*in, n. [Cf. F. cas[ e]ine, fr. L. caseur cheese. Cf. {Cheese}.] (Physiol. Chem.) A proteid substance present in both the animal and the vegetable kingdom. In the animal kingdom it is chiefly found in milk, and constitutes the main part of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Caseïn — (Käsestoff), stickstoffhaltige Substanz des Thier u. Pflanzen reichs, Zusammensetzung nach Mulder: 10(C40H31N10O12) + S; findet sich in der Milch aller Säugethiere, theils gelöst. theils ungelöst als Hüllenmembran der Milchkügelchen; ferner kommt …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Caseïn — Caseïn, Käsestoff, gehört zu den sog. Proteïnstoffen und findet sich hauptsächlich in der Milch der Säugethiere, in deren Zusammensetzung er einen Hauptbestandtheil bildet. Aus ihr stellt man ihn gewöhnlich durch Zusatz von Säuren oder Lab dar,… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Casein — vgl. Kasein …   Das Wörterbuch medizinischer Fachausdrücke

  • casein — principal protein constituent of milk, 1841, from Fr. caséine, from L. caseus cheese (see CHEESE (Cf. cheese)) + chemical suffix INE (Cf. ine) (2) …   Etymology dictionary

  • casein — ► NOUN ▪ the main protein present in milk and (in coagulated form) in cheese. ORIGIN from Latin caseus cheese …   English terms dictionary

  • casein — [kā′sē in, kā′sēn΄] n. [< L caseus, CHEESE1 + IN1] a phosphoprotein that is one of the chief constituents of milk and the basis of cheese: used in plastics, glues, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Casein — The main protein found in milk and other dairy products. * * * The principal protein of cow s milk and the chief constituent of cheese. It is insoluble in water, soluble in dilute alkaline and salt solutions, forms a hard insoluble plastic with… …   Medical dictionary

  • casein — Group of proteins isolated from milk. as and b caseins are amphipathic polypeptides of around 200 amino acids with substantial hydrophobic C terminal domains that associate to give micellar polymers in divalent cation rich medium. k casein is a… …   Dictionary of molecular biology

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