Why is milk white

Generally, toddlers only question the need of drinking milk, but some particularly inquisitive minds pepper their elders with questions regarding the characteristic white color of milk. Though elders are supposed to know the answers to these trifles, yet they might not always be able to explain the reasons behind such a strong white shade of milk.

The concept of reflecting a certain wavelength of light and absorbing others forms only a part of the solution for milk. It would be pertinent to touch upon this idea to begin with. It so happens that light is made up of seven constituent wavelengths, each corresponding to a different color. Materials have their characteristic colors due to the difference in their interactions with light. Materials absorb some components of light, and reflect the others. The reflected part of light accounts for the color that we perceive the material to be. It is anybody’s guess that milk, does not absorb any wavelength and reflects the white light as it receives it, thus giving off a white transparent outlook. It might be surprising to note that there are many degrees of whiteness.

Milk, as most of us would agree, is one of the purest exponents of the white color in all its glory. It is always fun to behold the funny pseudo moustache that embraces the upper lip after gulping down a glass full of milk. This brings us back to the question – what makes milk so white? A major constituent of milk is a protein called casein, which is a good source of calcium. Casein and calcium both host white color, hence invigorating the white shade of milk.

Though there have been arguments that casein, being soluble, should not be attributed with the property of making milk appear white. The cream content of the milk also determines the degree of its whiteness to a great extent. More cream obviously implies more whiteness. Take your mind to the grey shade of the stored milk lacking any considerable cream content. Most white products appear so because of the fact that their composition is colloidal, as is the case with titanium dioxide, a popular white pigment. It actually is made of clear crystals scattered as colloidal particles. Milk emulsion also consists of colloidal particles which scatter the entire incident light and absorb a negligible amount. All these little factors knit themselves into a perfect white color of milk. It is only apt that milk, being such a nutritious product, has a pure and healthy white color as its characteristic shade.