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The Sensory, Physicochemical, and Microbiological Properties of a Milk Beverage Infused with Bee Honey and Pepper (Piper nigrum)
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1  Department of Livestock and Avian Sciences, Faculty of Livestock, Fisheries and Nutrition, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka, Makandura, Gonawila (NWP) 60170, Sri Lanka
Academic Editor: Dariusz Dziki


Fortifying dairy beverages with natural additives is a widely accepted public health strategy to deliver bioactive substances. This study aimed to develop a pasteurized cow milk-based beverage enhanced with bee honey and pepper. The process involved cream separation from the raw milk, followed by preheating at 40°C. Subsequently, honey and pepper were incorporated into the mixture, which was then pasteurized at 63°C for 30 minutes. Bottled samples were stored under refrigerated conditions. The most acceptable formulation of pasteurized milk beverage, with 16% bee honey (v/v) and 0.6 % pepper (w/v), was selected among three predetermined formulations using sensory analysis. Results of the physicochemical and microbiological characteristics over 21 days of refrigerated storage revealed that the total solids (14.45% to 16.92%), ash (0.51% to 0.52%), titratable acidity (0.17% to 0.19%), free fatty acids (1.14% to 1.34%), total sugar (10.31% to 16.00%), and viscosity (21.65 mPa.s to 36.87 mPa.s) of the milk beverage increased, and the moisture (85.55% to 83.08%) and pH (6.61 to 6.14) decreased significantly (p < 0.05) during the storage period. Based on the colour analysis, milk beverages' L* and b* values increased, and the a* value decreased significantly (p < 0.05) during storage. The microbiological quality assessment of the milk beverage indicated a significant increase (p < 0.05) in the total bacteria count (3.75 log CFU/mL to 5.45 log CFU/mL) during storage. This study sheds light on the potential for creating novel dairy beverages with natural additives with enhanced flavor profiles and nutritional characteristics.

Keywords: cow milk; bee honey; pepper; sensory; physicochemical; microbiological