Natural vs Chemical Preservation Methods in Raw Milk

The purpose of this experiment was to apply an effective and safe means to preserve the quality of food specifically in areas where pasteurization and refrigeration are not practical. This research compares the use of turmeric, an inexpensive, antibacterial spice and the Lactoperoxidase system, a standard chemical preservation treatment, in their abilities to extend the shelf life of milk. Turmeric, serving as the natural treatment in this experiment, sodium percarbonate (2Na2CO3·3H2O2) and sodium thiocyanate (NaSCN), as the chemical treatment, were measured out in specific amounts. These treatments were applied to separate beakers of raw milk, and the treated milk, along with a control group (raw milk without treatment), was observed for 48 hours. An ANOVA test analyzing all three groups and a two sample t-test comparing the pH means of the raw milk treated by the natural and chemical treatment produced p-values of 5.21×10-9 and 4.99×10-4 respectively. It was concluded that there was a significant difference in mean pH between the three milk samples, and that the natural treatment resulted in significantly more normal pH than the chemical treatment.

Government health groups can use the results of this experiment to determine a safe, cost effective way to temporarily reduce the spoilage of milk during transport time to a processing facility. Ultimately, some type of treatment is necessary as raw milk is 150 times more likely to cause illness and death than treated milk (“Dangers”). Reducing bacteria also reduces the risk of miscarriage, kidney failure, and a host of other unpleasant symptoms (“Dangers”).It was demonstrated that a completely natural method is effective, so dangerous chemical treatments are not the only answer. The results from the experiment show progress in the quest to end preventable food-borne illnesses.

Research Conducted By:

Lindsay Fricano
Fraser High School

Haley Le
Sterling Heights High School