Composition of milk from minor dairy animals and buffalo breeds: a biodiversity perspective

Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture
Elinor MedhammarBarbara Burlingame


A comprehensive review is presented of the nutrient composition for buffalo, mare, and dromedary camel milks at the level of breed, and species-level data for yak, mithun, musk ox, donkey, Bactrian camel, llama, alpaca, reindeer and moose milks. Average values of nutrients were calculated and compared. Interspecies values (g 100 g⁻¹) were 0.7-16.1 for total fat, 1.6-10.5 for protein, 2.6-6.6 for lactose, and 67.9-90.8 for water. Reindeer and moose milks had the highest fat and protein concentrations and the lowest lactose contents. Mare and donkey milks had the lowest protein and fat contents, in addition to showing the most appropriate fatty acid profile for human nutrition. Dromedary camel milk was most similar to cow milk in proximate composition. Moose milk was the richest in minerals, having values as high as 358 mg 100 g⁻¹ for calcium, 158 mg 100 g⁻¹ for sodium and 150 mg 100 g⁻¹ for phosphorus. Interbreed differences of 4 g 100 g⁻¹ were observed in total fat in buffalo, yak, mare and dromedary camel milks. Large interbreed differences were also present in the mineral contents in mare, buffalo and dromedary camel milks. By bringing together these compositional data, we hope to usefully widen the biodiversity knowledge bas...Continue Reading


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