The objective of the article was to analyze the influence of psychrotrophic bacteria counts (PBCs) and somatic cell counts (SCCs) on the extent of lipolysis in bulk samples of cow's milk at reception and during cold storage. Samples of milk were analyzed on the day of sampling and subsequently during cold storage. The acidity, fat, density, chloride content, electrical conductivity (EC), bulk milk SCCs (BMSCC), and PBC values were analyzed on the day of sampling and the levels of acidity, EC, SCC, and PBC were analyzed during cold storage at 4 °C for 72 h. The SCC value 869 × 103 mL−1 was higher than the recommended threshold. Lipolysis level at sampling day was related more closely with SCC than with PBC. There was no significant correlation between milk acidity and PBC among others parameters, while the milk mean density was only significant (P < 0.01) correlated with the fat content. The EC and chloride content were consistently correlated (P < 0.001) with BMSCC that allowed them to be used as indicators of mammary gland infection. The milk acidity, EC, PBC, and lipolysis levels increased in relation to the storage time at 4 °C. The lipolysis level during storage was in closer relation to the SCC, but not relation to the PBC. Effects of SCC and PBC on lipolysis decreased throughout the chilling period. It was concluded that initial lipolysis level and intrinsic milk lipoprotein lipase appear more effective than SCC and PBC on the development of lipolysis during storage.
− This work can help milk industry to evaluate milk quality.
− Milk somatic cells counts in milk can be substituted with chloride content to evaluate udder health.
− At the same time, milk industries have interest to reduce the time of refrigeration to avoid lipolysis in milk and consequently the degradation of milk quality.