Opportunities for Producing Dairy Products from Camel Milk: A Comparison with Bovine Milk

  • Richard Ipsen Department of Food Science, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 26, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark


Abstract: Camel milk is known to differ markedly from bovine milk in terms of its detailed protein composition and colloidal structure. Noteworthy is the lack of β-lactoglobulin, the small content of -casein and high proportion of β-casein in the casein micelles of the milk. The colloidal structure is also different with larger casein micelles and smaller fat globules. The present review presents and discusses current knowledge on the composition and colloidal structure of camel milk, relates this to bovine milk, and points out where research is lacking and what opportunities for processing of camel milk appears to be most promising. Pasteurized camel milk appears straightforward and is used industrially, but UHT and sterilization treatment of camel milk cause protein instability. Hence, research is needed to solve this problem. Acidified milk drinks appear promising as do production of camel milk cheese. Butter and ghee production is possible and camel milk can be made into palatable ice cream. The different colloidal structure of camel milk, compared to bovine milk, means that most processing technology cannot be directly transferred and there is hence a need for suitable research-based adaptations.
Keywords: heat treatment; casein micelle; protein composition; fermented milk products; butter

Author Biography

Richard Ipsen, Department of Food Science, Faculty of Science, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 26, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark
Department of Food Science, Faculty of Science, Denmark


Abdel Rahman, I. E., Dirar, H. A., and Osman, M. 2009. Microbiological and biochemical changes and sensory evaluation of camel milk fermented by selected bacterial starter cultures. African Journal of Food Science, 3: 398-405.
Ahmed, N. A. A., and El Zubeir, I. E. M. 2011. Effect of salt level on some physical and chemical properties and acceptability of camel milk cheese. Journal of Camelid Science, 4: 40-48.
Al Haj, O. A., and Al Kanhal, H. A. 2010. Compositional, technological and nutritional aspects of dromedary camel milk. International Dairy Journal, 20: 811-821.
Al Haj, O. A., Metwalli, A. A. M., and Ismail, E. A. 2011. Heat stability of camel milk proteins after sterilization process. Journal of Camel Practice and Research, 18: 277-282.
Attia, H., Kherouatou, N., Nasri, M., and Khorchani, T. 2000. Characterization of the dromedary milk casein micelle and study of its changes during acidification. Lait 80: 503-515.
Baer, A., Ryba, I., and Farah, Z. 1994. Plasmin activity in camel milk. Food Science and Technology-Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft and Technologie, 27: 595-598.
Berhe, T., Seifu, E., and Kurtu, M. Y. 2013. Physicochemical properties of butter made from camel milk. International Dairy Journal, 31: 51-54.
Bornaz, S., Sahli, A. L. I., Attalah, A., and Attia, H. 2009. Physicochemical characteristics and renneting properties of camels' milk: a comparison with goats', ewes' and cows' milks. International Journal of Dairy Technology, 62: 505-513.
Bruntse, A. 2016). Camel Milk Cheese 2 - Recipes for Northern Africa and India. Chr. Hansen A/S. Hørsholm, Denmark.
Calvo, M. M., Leaver, J., Law, A. J. R., and Banks, J. M. 1992. Analysis of the whey-protein fraction during ripening of Cheddar type cheese containing heat denatured beta-lactoglobulin. Milchwissenschaft-Milk Science International, 47: 343-347.
Chetana, R., Manohar, B., and Reddy, S. R. Y. 2004. Process optimisation of Gulab jamun, an Indian traditional sweet, using sugar substitutes. European Food Research and Technology, 219: 386-392.
Donato, L., and Guyomarc'H, F. 2009. Formation and properties of the whey protein/kappa-casein complexes in heated skim milk - A review. Dairy Science and Technology, 89: 3-29.
El-Agamy, E.-S. I. 2006. Camel Milk. In: Park Y. W. and Haenlein G. F. W. (Eds.), Handbook of Milk of Non-Bovine Mammals. Blackwell Publishers, Oxford, UK.
El-Hatmi, H., Girardet, J. M., Gaillard, J. L., Yahyaoui, M. H., and Attia, H. 2007. Characterisation of whey proteins of camel (Camelus dromedarius) milk and colostrum. Small Ruminant Research, 70: 267-271.
El Agamy, E.-S. I., Ruppanner, R., Ismail, A., Champagne, C. P., and Assaf, R. 1996. Purification and characterization of lactoferrin, lactoperoxidase, lysozyme and immunoglobulins from camel's milk. International Dairy Journal, 6: 129-145.
Farah, Z., and Bachmann, M. R. 1987. Rennet coagulation properties of camel milk. Milchwissenschaft-Milk Science International 42: 689-692.
Farah, Z., and Ruegg, M. 1991. The creaming properties and size distribution of fat globules in camel milk. Journal of Dairy Science, 74: 2901-2904.
Farah, Z., and Atkins, D. 1992. Heat coagulation of camel milk. Journal of Dairy Research, 59: 229-231.
Farah, Z., Eberhard, P., Meyer, J., Rehberger, B., Thomet, A., and Gallmann, P. U. 2004. UHT processing of camel milk. The International Symposium on Dairy Safety and Hygiene (UBISI). Cape Town, South Africa.
Faye, B., and Konuspayeva, G. 2012. The sustainability challenge to the dairy sector - The growing importance of non-cattle milk production worldwide. International Dairy Journal, 24: 50-56.
Felfoul, I., Lopez, C., Gaucheron, F., Attia, H., and Ayadi, M. A. 2015. A laboratory investigation of cow and camel whey proteins deposition under different heat treatments. Food and Bioproducts Processing, 96: 256-263.
Gallagher, D. P., and Mulvihill, D. M. 1997. Heat stability and renneting characteristics of milk systems containing bovine casein micelles and porcine or bovine beta-lactoglobulin. International Dairy Journal, 7: 221-228.
Gaye, M. 2007. Tiviski: A Camel Milk Dairy Improving Livelihoods for Semi-Nomadic Herders. In Growing Inclusive Markets. United Nations Development Programme, New York, USA.
Gorban, A. M., and Izzeldin, O. M. 2001. Fatty acids and lipids of camel milk and colostrum. International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, 52: 283–287.
Hailu, Y., Hansen, E. B., Seifu, E., Eshetu, M., and Ipsen, R. 2016. Factors influencing the gelation and rennetability of camel milk using camel chymosin. International Dairy Journal, 60: 62-69.
Hassl, M., Jorgensen, B. D., and Janhoj, T. 2011. Rennet gelation properties of ultrafiltration retentates from camel milk. Milchwissenschaft-Milk Science International, 66: 80-84.
Hinz, K., O'Connor, P. M., Huppertz, T., Ross, R. P., and Kelly, A. L. 2012. Comparison of the principal proteins in bovine, caprine, buffalo, equine and camel milk. Journal of Dairy Research, 79: 185-191.
Huppertz, T., Fox, P. F., and Kelly, A. L. 2003. High pressure-induced changes in the creaming properties of bovine milk. Innovative Food Science and Emerging Technologies, 4: 349-359.
Ibrahim, A. H. 2015. Effects of exopolysaccharide-producing starter cultures on physicochemical, rheological and sensory properties of fermented camel's milk. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, 27: 374-383.
Jha, A., Murli, Patel, A. A., Gopal, T. K. S., and Ravishankar, C. N. 2012. Development of a process for shelf stable dairy dessert dalia and its physico-chemical properties. Lwt-Food Science and Technology, 49: 80-88.
Richard Ipsen East African Journal of Sciences Volume 11 (2) 93-98
Kappeler, S. 1998. Compositional and Structural Analysis of Camel Milk Proteins with Emphasis on Protective Proteins. PhD Thesis, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zürich, Switzerland.
Kappeler, S., Farah, Z., and Puhan, Z. 1998. Sequence analysis of Camelus dromedarius milk caseins. Journal of Dairy Research, 65: 209-222.
Kappeler, S. R., Ackermann, M., Farah, Z., and Puhan, Z. 1999. Sequence analysis of camel (Camelus dromedarius) lactoferrin. International Dairy Journal, 9: 481-486.
Konuspayeva, G., Camier, B., Gaucheron, F., and Faye, B. 2014. Some parameters to process camel milk into cheese. Emirates Journal of Food and Agriculture, 26: 354-358.
Kouniba, A., Berrada, M., Zahar, M., and Bengoumi, M. 2005. Composition and heat stability of moroccan camel milk. Journal of Camel Practice and Research, 12: 105-110.
Laleye, L. C., Jobe, B., and Wasesa, A. A. H. 2008. Comparative Study on Heat Stability and Functionality of Camel and Bovine Milk Whey Proteins. Journal of Dairy Science, 91: 4527-4534.
Lucey, J. A., Tamehana, M., Singh, H., and Munro, P. A. 1998. Effect of interactions between denatured whey proteins and casein micelles on the formation and rheological properties of acid skim milk gels. Journal of Dairy Research, 65: 555-567.
Medhammar, E., Wijesinha-Bettoni, R., Stadlmayr, B., Nilsson, E., Charrondiere, U. R., and Burlingame, B. 2012. Composition of milk from minor dairy animals and buffalo breeds: a biodiversity perspective. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 92: 445-474.
Omar, A., Harbourne, N., and Oruna-Concha, M. J. 2016. Quantification of major camel milk proteins by capillary electrophoresis. International Dairy Journal, 58: 31-35.
Omoarukhe, E. D., On-Nom, N., Grandison, A. S., and Lewis, M. J. 2010. Effects of different calcium salts on properties of milk related to heat stability. International Journal of Dairy Technology, 63: 504–511.
Permyakov, E. A., and Berliner, L. J. 2000. alpha-Lactalbumin: structure and function. FEBS Letters, 473: 269-274.
Qadeer, Z., Huma, N., Sameen, A., and Iqbal, T. 2015. Camel milk cheese: optimization of processing conditions. Journal of Camelid Science, 8: 18-25.
Ramet, J. P. 2001. The technology of making cheese from camel milk (Camelus dromedarius). Volume 113: Food and Agriculture Organization, Rome, Italy.
Rauh, V. M., Sundgren, A., Bakman, M., Ipsen, R., Paulsson, M., Larsen, L. B., and Hammershøj, M. 2014. Plasmin activity as a possible cause for age gelation in UHT milk produced by direct steam infusion. International Dairy Journal, 38: 199-207.
Ruegg, M. W., and Farah, Z. 1991. Melting curves of camel milk fat. Milchwissenschaft-Milk Science International, 46, 361-362.
Soni, V., and Goyal, M. 2013. Potential of using camel milk for ice cream making. Journal of Camel Practice and Research, 20: 271-275.
Walstra, P., Wouters, J. T. M., and Geurts, T. J. 2006. Dairy Science and Technology (2nd edition). Taylor and Francis, New York, USA.
Waungana, A., Singh, H., and Bennett, R. J. 1996. Influence of denaturation and aggregation of beta-lactoglobulin on rennet coagulation properties of skim milk and ultrafiltered milk. Food Research International, 29: 715-721.