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, river, United States and Canada
Milk, 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 Missouri 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.


, food

milk, liquid secreted by the mammary glands 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. Pasteurization (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 casein), fat, salts, and milk sugar, or lactose, 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 cholesterol. 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.

The term milk is also applied to a number of plant-based drinks, such as soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, or rice milk. Such drinks, which are mostly water, are produced using ground or grated seeds, grains, nuts, or the like that have been soaked in heated water for a period of time; the liquid, or milk, is produced by straining out and pressing the solids, and may be sweetened or flavored. Plant-based milks typically have less nutrients than animal milk, with soy milk being the most comparable, but commercial versions often have added nutrients.

See also butter; cheese; dairying; fermented milk.


See S. K. Kon, Milk and Milk Products in Human Nutrition (1972); T. Quinn, Dairy Farm Management (1980); D. Carrick, Milk (1985).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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.

The Dream Encyclopedia, Second Edition © 2009 Visible Ink Press®. All rights reserved.


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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


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.
Bedside Dream Dictionary by Silvana Amar Copyright © 2007 by Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Bulk milk transportation did not affect the population of mesophilic and psychrotrophic bacteria such as Pseudomonas spp.
Feedstuff's and bulk milk were sampled from various industrial dairy farms during 4 seasons in semiarid northeastern Iran for [AFB.sub.1] and [AFM.sub.1] detection and their ex vivo effect on peripheral granulocytes.
These values can be considered as mean values of parameters for bulk milk. The mean value for milk total protein was 73.555 0.887 mg mL-1 while it ranged from a minimum value of 51.2 mg mL-1 to a maximum value of 93.733 mg mL-1.
Bulk milk samples were collected in labeled 200 mL-flasks containing 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (0.05%, m [v.sup.-1]) to prevent bacterial growth until the moment of analysis.
A grant from the National Institute for Hometown Security in Somerset, Ky., funded a four-year project to develop a security system for bulk milk transport.
On the ground, Moily has bulk milk chilling centres that increase shelf life of milk resulting in better quality for upstream processors and better prices to dairy farmers.
Part of the bulk milk was kept for analysis of specific gravity, acidity, butterfat, protein and dry matter content.
However, bulk milk tanks have no bearing whatsoever on a homestead milk situation.
Increasingly today, especially in California, it is family-owned cow's milk dairies that have entered the fray, rejecting bulk milk prices in favor of the value-added incentive of cheesemaking.
Dairy farms, bulk milk transporters, transfer stations, and fluid milk processors can turn to security guidance from Health and Human Services' Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
"Recent developments in testing, in the form of bulk milk and pooled blood BVD PCR testing, and the advent of tag and test, whereby a tissue sample is punched out of the calf's ear when applying it's official tags and then sent to the lab, have made the job a lot easier.'' He said good biosecurity is also essential.