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river, 729 mi (1,173 km) long, rising in the Rocky Mts., NW Mont. It flows N into Alberta, Canada, then in long curves eastward, S into Montana again, and generally SE to the MissouriMissouri,
river, c.2,565 mi (4,130 km) long (including its Jefferson-Beaverhead-Red Rock headstream), the longest river of the United States and the principal tributary of the Mississippi River.
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 River, entering just below Fort Peck Dam. The Milk River reclamation project (est. 1911) irrigates c.134,000 acres (54,230 hectares). The largest of several dams is the Fresno Dam (completed 1939). Malta, Chinook, Glasgow, and Harlem, Mont., are in the project area.


liquid secreted by the mammary glandsmammary gland,
organ of the female mammal that produces and secretes milk for the nourishment of the young. A mammal may have from 1 to 11 pairs of mammary glands, depending on the species. Generally, those mammals that bear larger litters have more glands.
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 of female mammals as food for their young. The milk of the cow is most widely used by humans, but the milk of the mare, goat, ewe, buffalo, camel, ass, zebra, reindeer, llama, and yak is also used. The composition of milk varies with the species, breed, feed, and condition of the animal. Jersey and Guernsey cows produce milk of high butterfat content; Holsteins produce larger quantities of milk but with a lower butterfat content.

Milk prepared for sale is often homogenized; in this process it is pumped under pressure through small openings to break up the milk-fat globules, thus ensuring an equal distribution of fat throughout the milk rather than permitting it to rise to the top as cream. In most countries where milk is a commercial product, it is subject to regulations concerning its composition (i.e., the proportion of butterfat and other solids) and its purity, with sanitary measures in force that cover milk handlers, herds, plants, and equipment. Pasteurizationpasteurization
, partial sterilization of liquids such as milk, orange juice, wine, and beer, as well as cheese, to destroy disease-causing and other undesirable organisms.
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 (partial sterilization by heating) checks bacterial growth, thereby making milk safer to drink and increasing its keeping qualities and range of transport.

Milk, an almost complete food, consists of proteins (mainly caseincasein
, well-defined group of proteins found in milk, constituting about 80% of the proteins in cow's milk, but only 40% in human milk. Casein is a remarkably efficient nutrient, supplying not only essential amino acids, but also some carbohydrates and the inorganic elements
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), fat, salts, and milk sugar, or lactoselactose
or milk sugar,
white crystalline disaccharide (see carbohydrate). It has the same empirical formula (C12H22O11) as sucrose (cane sugar) and maltose but differs from both in structure (see isomer).
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, as well as vitamins A, C, D, certain B vitamins, and lesser amounts of others. (Many people are unable to digest milk after childhood because they stop producing an enzyme needed to break down lactose, but usually they still can digest yogurt, hard cheeses, and lactose-reduced milk products.) Commercial dairies often supplement natural vitamin D with a concentrate. Milk is a major source of calcium and a good source of phosphorus. Low-fat and skim milk fortified with vitamins A and D have the same nutritional value as whole milk, but with fewer calories and less cholesterolcholesterol
, fatty lipid found in the body tissues and blood plasma of vertebrates; it is only sparingly soluble in water, but much more soluble in some organic solvents. A steroid, cholesterol can be found in large concentrations in the brain, spinal cord, and liver.
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. Whole milk has 3.5% milkfat, low-fat milk 1% to 2%, and skim, 0.5%. Heavy cream has a minimum of 36% milkfat, half-and-half not less than 10.5% nor more than 18%.

A patent was issued for the production of dried milk in Great Britain in 1855, and for concentrated milk in the United States to Gail Borden in 1856. The two types of concentrated milk are condensed and evaporated; condensed milk is a sweetened product (over 40% sugar), and evaporated is unsweetened. Dried, or powdered, milk is made by passing a film of partially evaporated milk over a heated drum or by spraying it into a heated chamber in which the particles dry. Malted milk is a dried mixture made of milk and the liquid from a mash of barley malt and wheat flour.

See butterbutter,
dairy product obtained by churning the fat from milk until it solidifies. In most areas the milk of cows is the basis, but elsewhere that of goats, sheep, and mares has been used. Butter was known by 2000 B.C.
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; cheesecheese,
food known from ancient times and consisting of the curd of milk separated from the whey. The Production of Cheese

The milk of various animals has been used in the making of cheese: the milk of mares and goats by the ancient Greeks, camel's milk by the
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; dairyingdairying,
business of producing, processing, and distributing milk and milk products. Ninety percent of the world's milk is obtained from cows; the remainder comes from goats, buffaloes, sheep, reindeer, yaks, and other ruminants.
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; fermented milkfermented milk,
whole or skim milk curdled to beverage or custardlike consistency by lactic-acid-producing microorganisms. Many forms of fermented milk were used by early nomadic herders, especially in Asia and S and E Europe, Scandinavia, Africa, and South America.
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See S. K. Kon, Milk and Milk Products in Human Nutrition (1972); T. Quinn, Dairy Farm Management (1980); D. Carrick, Milk (1985).



the fluid secreted by the mammary glands of mammals. It serves as food for a mammal’s young during the period after birth (lactation period). In the first days after birth, colostrum is secreted, which gradually becomes milk of the usual composition. Human milk contains all the nutrients needed by an infant. The caloric value of human milk is 65–70 kilocalories per 100 g, the pH is 6.9–7.5, and the density is 1.030–1.032 g/cm3. The chemical composition of the milk is 87.4 percent water, 0.91 percent casein, 1.23 percent albumin and globulin, 3.76 percent fat, 6.29 percent lactose, and 0.31 percent ash; human milk also contains some mineral salts and the vitamins A, B, C, and D.

The milk of agricultural animals is a valuable food product. Most milk destined for human consumption is from the cow. The milk of goats, sheep, mares, camels, asses, buffalo, zebus, yaks, and reindeer is used by humans on a more limited scale. Lactic-acid products, butter, and ice cream are made from the milk of agricultural animals. Milk contains water, proteins, fat, milk sugar (lactose), mineral substances (including trace elements), vitamins, enzymes, hormones, antibodies, gases, microorganisms, and pigments. Because milk consists of the optimal combination of these components, it is the most indispensable food product, particularly for children. It contains most of the elements needed for normal growth and development. The milk of different animals varies in chemical composition and nutritional value (see Table 1).

The proteins in milk consist primarily of casein, lactalbumin, and lactoglobulin. The production of cottage cheese and hard cheeses is based on casein’s tendency to coagulate under the action of enzymes. The albumin in milk plays an important role in ensuring growth processes; for example, globulin ensures the formation of antibodies. According to protein content, there are casein milks (cow, goat, and sheep) and albumin milks (mare, deer, and ass). The protein of casein milks consists of no less than 75 percent casein, and that of albumin milks consists of 50–65 percent albumin. In terms of biological properties, albumin milk is more valuable than casein milk.

The proteins of milk are among the most complete. They contain all of the necessary amino acids, including all the essential amino acids. The proportion among lysine, methionine, and tryptophan is particularly favorable in milk, and the sulfur-containing amino acids methionine and cystine—which are important in the prevention of atherosclerosis—are found in large quantity. Between 75 and 96 percent of milk proteins is assimilated by the body. Nitrogenous substances, such as urea, uric acid, creatinine, and riboflavin, are present in milk in small quantities (up to 0.05 percent).

The fat present in milk, or butterfat, is in the form of globules, measuring 0.5 to 20 microns in diameter (about 3 billion in 1 milliliter). Each globule is surrounded by a film containing extremely sparse complexes of phospholipids and trace elements. In milk that is allowed to stand undisturbed, the fat globules rise to the surface to form cream. Butterfat, which differs from other animal fats in its lower melting (27°–45°C) and freezing (between −17° and −21°C) points, distinctive flavor, and high assimilability, is used as a food product (creamery and clarified butter). Milk contains fatlike substances—phosphatides (lecithin and cephalin—which have important biological activities, including antisclerotic properties) and sterols (cholesterol and ergosterol).

The carbohydrate in milk, lactose, is present only in milk and readily undergoes various types of fermentation. It is used in the production of lactic-acid products, cheeses, and other dairy products. When there is a deficiency of the enzyme lactase in man, undecomposed milk sugar in the small intestine may become toxic. Mineral substances are found in milk in the form of salts of organic and inorganic acids. The ash in milk contains Ca, P, Na, K, Mg, S, and Cl. The chief constituents of the ash are Ca (125–130 mg/100 g) and P (95–105 mg/100 g).

Because milk has a high content of easily assimilated calcium, it is a particularly valuable food product; most other foods are low in calcium. The trace elements found in milk include Zn, Co, Cu, Mn, I, Fe, Al, Cr, Pb, Ti, and Ag. The value of the mineral content of milk lies in the balance of those elements that ensure normal development of skeletal and other systems, particularly in children. Milk contains most of the known vitamins; summer milk is particularly rich in vitamins. Milk also contains more than 60 enzymes, the most important of which are lactase, protease, lipase, amylase, and catalase. The enzymes promote digestion and play an important role in the conversion of milk into milk products. In addition, milk has hormones (oxytocin, prolactin, estrogen, epinephrine, insulin); antibodies, which promote immunity to disease (antitoxins, agglutinins, opsonins); gases (CO2, C2, H2, NH3); and microorganisms.

The normal microflora of milk includes milk molds, bacteria that produce lactic acid fermentation, and gas-forming bacteria. Some species that cause defects in milk are Bacillus coli, Bacillus subtilis, Proteus, and Micrococcus. To destroy the vegetative forms of microorganisms, including pathogenic microbes, milk is pasteurized or boiled; to destroy all microbes, milk is sterilized. When milk is first received, it contains antibacterial substances (lactenins) and, therefore, is bacteriostatic; that is, it inhibits propagation of bacteria. Because fresh milk remains bacteriostatic only for two or three hours, it is quickly chilled to a temperature lower than 8°C, so that it can be stored for about two days. Fresh milk has an acidity of 16°–18°T (degrees Turner). Milk sours at 28°–30°T and curdles at 65°–70°T.

In the USSR, pasteurized and sterilized milk for beverage purposes is produced. Pasteurized whole milk, standardized milk (with the standard fat content), reconstituted milk (from dry or condensed milk or cream), and vitamin fortified milk (100 mg of vitamin C per kg) have a standard for fat of 3.2 percent. Baked and extra-rich milk contain 6 percent fat, protein milk contains 1 percent fat, and nonfat milk contains almost no fat. The acidity of pasteurized milk is 20°–21°T (of protein milk, 25°T); the milk’s temperature when released from the dairy is 8°C, and its storage period is two or three days. Sterilized milk is produced with a fat content of 3.2 or 3.5 percent (in bottles and cartons); its storage period is ten days.

Table 1. The chemical composition (in percentage) and the caloric content (in kilocalories* per 100 g) of various milks
SpeciesDry substancesFatProteinLactoseMineral substancesCaloric content
CaseinGlobulin and albumin
* 1 kilocalorie = 4.19 kilojoules

According to data of the Nutrition Institute of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, the daily milk requirement is 250–500 g for adults and 500–700 g for children. The production of milk on farms and its transport to and processing in dairies are under strict sanitary control. Dairies only accept milk from healthy animals that have been raised on farms where there are no cases of infectious diseases. Milk for the market (including milk for consumers’ cooperatives) must be certified by a meat-dairy and food-quality control station. Milk containing preservatives or additives or having flavor and odor defects is not certified. Dairies do not accept colostrum or milk obtained during the seven days before steaming up (fattening before parturition) the cows (old milk).


Inikhov, G. S. Biokhimiia moloka i molochnykh produktov, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1962.
Davidov, R. B., and V. M. Sokolovskii. Moloko i zdorov’e. Moscow, 1965.
Vesser, R. Tekhnologiia polucheniia i pererabotki moloka. Moscow, 1971. (Translated from French.)
Gigiena pitaniia, vol. 2. Moscow, 1971.
Davidov, R. B. Moloko i molochnoe delo, 4th ed. Moscow, 1973.


What does it mean when you dream about milk?

Milk is the elixir of life from mother to child. If the dreamer is receiving the milk, it can indicate that a deep inner nourishment is being received. Should the dreamer be giving the milk to one’s self or to another, much love and caring is being expressed in the dreamer’s life. Also, perhaps a caretaking profession is being sought.


A suspension of certain metallic oxides, as milk of magnesia, iron, or bismuth.
(food engineering)
A product derived from the lacteal secretion, practically free from colostrum, of dairy cows; contains not less than 8.25% milk solids and not less than 3.25% milk fat.
The whitish fluid secreted by the mammary gland for the nourishment of the young; composed of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, mineral salts, vitamins, and antibodies.
Any whitish fluid in nature resembling milk, as coconut milk.


a. a whitish nutritious fluid produced and secreted by the mammary glands of mature female mammals and used for feeding their young until weaned
b. the milk of cows, goats, or other animals used by man as a food or in the production of butter, cheese, etc.
2. any similar fluid in plants, such as the juice of a coconut
3. any of various milklike pharmaceutical preparations, such as milk of magnesia


Milk is a symbol of leaning, knowledge, plenty, fertility, and immortality. Milk as a symbol of immortality may be found in different cultures and literature, including in India, in Greek mythology, in Celtic writings, in Islam and Christianity. In his recordings, Ibn Omar wrote that Muhammad said “to dream of milk is to dream of learning or knowledge.” Dreaming of milk is a very positive message from your unconscious. It may suggest that you are in need of the deepest and most fundamental type of nourishment and that it is available to you. You unconscious may be suggesting that it is time for you to grow and to learn and that it is possible for you to do that at the current time. The interpretation of dreaming about milk can also be looked at from a very different viewpoint. Milk can be a safe representation of semen and you may have unconscious (or conscious) desires for sexual relations. However, in my opinion it is unlikely that milk in dreams represents sexuality. Finally, milk is a lunar symbol and as such it is feminine. It suggests a renewal in spirit and thought, just like springtime is the renewal of nature.
References in periodicals archive ?
By knowing his father's names, Milkman inherits a legacy from his forefathers and, by extension, his foremothers that unites the physicality of the maternal with the absence of the paternal.
See the milkman jump and demand to be set free -- Emily's concoction even shrinks his milk bottles
It is thought Sparks worked as an independent milkman and was not employed by the two main companies in the area.
Through the Blitz I changed address, but I still found a milkman within two weeks.
The milkman, who does not want to be named, was on his rounds in Dalton when he saw the water gushing out of a door at a bungalow on Cross Cottages at 5am yesterday.
A North East milkman is the cream of the crop after being voted Britain's king of doorstep deliveries.
A MILKMAN yesterday escaped a driving ban after he told a court he would be unable to work - and would lose his home.
And just days after the scheme, one of the first in the UK, started, an eagle-eyed milkman spotted a man acting suspiciously, called police, and the man was caught and admitted stealing a garden strimmer.
MOVIE legend Sean Connery claims he had a better sex life as a milkman than when he made the ranks of the international film stars.
A father-of-three was named yesterday as the cream of his profession when he won the Milkman of the Year award.
By the time the scene has ended, it doesn't matter that Pilate has offered credible reasons why Milkman couldn't not love Hagar's hair - "'How can he love himself and hate your hair?
Milkman knows that he must "go solo" (220) in more ways than one, for his enmeshment with Ruth and Macon have prevented him from empathizing with other people.