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Nutrient composition of the whole milk of humans and
select domesticated animals (per 100 g)
source energy fat cholesterol protein calcium phosphorus carbohydrate
(kcal) (g) (mg) (g) (mg) (mg) (g)
human 70 4.38 14 1.03 32 14 6.89
cow 61 3.34 14 3.29 119 93 4.66
goat 69 4.14 11 3.56 134 111 4.45
sheep 108 7.00 -- 5.98 193 158 5.36
water buffalo 97 6.89 19 3.75 169 117 5.18
Source: Composition of Foods, Agriculture Handbook no.8-1, U.S. Department of Agriculture
The even-numbered fatty acids from 4 to 10 carbon atoms are mostly found in milk fats. Butyric acid, CH3CH2CH2COOH, is an important component of cow's milk. Goat's milk is rich in fats containing the 6-, 8-, and 10-carbon acids (caproic, caprylic, and capric acids, respectively; these names are all derived from the word caper [Latin: "goat"]). The calcium and sodium salts of propionic acid are used as preservatives, chiefly in cheese, bread, and cakes. Some hard cheeses (e.g., Swiss cheese) contain natural propionic acid. The higher even-numbered saturated acids, from C12 to C18 (lauric, myristic, palmitic, and stearic; see Table 31), are present in the fats and oils of many animals and plants, with palmitic acid being the most prevalent. Lauric acid (C12) is the main acid in coconut oil (45-50 percent) and palm kernel oil (45-55 percent). Nutmeg butter is rich in myristic acid, C14 (which constitutes 60-75 percent of the fatty-acid content). Palmitic acid, C16, constitutes between 20 and 30 percent of most animal fats and is also an important constituent of most vegetable fats (35-45 percent of palm oil). Stearic acid, C18, is also present in most fats but usually in smaller amounts than palmitic. Cocoa butter is unusually rich in stearic acid (35 percent).