ANSC 438 Home / Beginning / Milk Composition / Mammary Structure
Mammary Development / Mother & Neonate / Lactation / Mastitis

Independent Study

Mammary Structure Module

Welcome to the Mammary Structure Lab Module. Before you start let's consider the magnitude of the lactation function of a cow in the context of the physical mass of her udder. To get an idea of how big the gland is in mass and functional output, consider that an average Holstein cow easily may produce 50 kg of milk per day in two milkings. Her empty udder might weigh 25 kg alone. That means that when she walks into the milking parlor to be milked she may have 50 kg (>100 lbs) of weight hanging from her body. Furthermore, that 50 kg of milk means that she is excreting about 1.8 kg of fat, 1.6 kg of protein, 2.5 kg of lactose, and 600 g of calcium, plus about 44 kg of water each day. The anatomical structures that support this exceptional functional effort must be up to the task.

Clearly, in order to lactate, the mammary gland must have several critical structural components. This module addresses those structural components in three broad sections. One section deals with the macro-structure of the cow's udder, while the a second section deals with the micro-structure or the histological structure and ultrastructure of mammary tissue. The third section deals with the comparative anatomy of mammary structure of various mammalian species.

As you journey through this module, you will be introduced to the many structures and physical systems of the mammary gland that support the tissue in making milk. You can choose to start your journey with either the Macro, Micro, or Comparative sections. Be sure to complete all sections of this module.

Macro - This section introduces you to the anatomy of the cow's udder:

Micro - This section introduces you to the histology and ultrastructure of mammary tissue:

Comparative - This section introduces you to the comparative structure of mamamry glands of various species:

Click here to view/download these guides:
Guide for Macrostructure Module
Guide for Microstructure Module
Guide for Comparative Anatomy Module

Click here to view a Mammary Structure Practice Quiz. Print is out and use it to help you study the material.

Information contained herein is subject to change without notice.
Copyright® 2009 by Walter L. Hurley, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign