Proteins and bioactive peptides from donkey milk: The molecular basis for its reduced allergenic properties

Food Research International
Vincenzo CunsoloSalvatore Foti


The legendary therapeutics properties of donkey milk have recently been supported by many clinical trials who have clearly demonstrated that, even if with adequate lipid integration, it may represent a valid natural substitute of cow milk for feeding allergic children. During the last decade many investigations by MS-based methods have been performed in order to obtain a better knowledge of donkey milk proteins. The knowledge about the primary structure of donkey milk proteins now may provide the basis for a more accurate comprehension of its potential benefits for human nutrition. In this aspect, experimental data today available clearly demonstrate that donkey milk proteins (especially casein components) are more closely related with the human homologues rather than cow counterparts. Moreover, the low allergenic properties of donkey milk with respect to cow one seem to be related to the low total protein content, the low ratio of caseins to whey fraction, and finally to the presence in almost all bovine IgE-binding linear epitopes of multiple amino acid differences with respect to the corresponding regions of donkey milk counterparts.


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