Camel Milk:  A Boon to Dairy Industry


Milk is a complete diet as it comprises all the supplements, such as water,fat, carbohydrates, lactose, protein, minerals, nutrients and many catalysts. Camel milk plays an essential role and has many beneficial effects, such as antiviral, antibacterial, anti-diabetic, anti-carcinogenic and anti-ageing. It also contains abundant proteins which are conductive to improve the immunity functions.

A camel is a cumbersome creature living in desert areas with a population of approximately 35.5 million in world as 89 % is Camelus dromedarius and 11 % is Camelus bactrianus whereas in India the population of camel is 0.25 million.

In the Quran camel is declared as the wonder of God. Camel milk has been an important source of nutrition, more recently there has been a growing interest in camel milk as an alternative to bovine milk and nutraceutical properties because of its high nutritional value and therapeutic effects for human use. Dromedary camel lives in the dry land and desert area and it isused for short distance transportation, besides it is also used for milk purpose. It is also, recognized as Desert white gold, is more relevant to human milk and varies from other animals milk as it comprises small quantity of sugar and cholesterol whereas, it consist of minerals in greater quantity (magnesium, sodium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper) and vitamin C.Camel milk includes reactive proteins that may have a possibility in improving the immunological defence mechanism. It is also known to have hypoglycemic impact, and also used as a supportive treatment, due to the combination of insulin like proteins and has a useful result in the treatment of diabetes.

Table 1: Composition of camel milk and other species of milk, (Fox, 2003).

Animal speciesPercentage of waterFat (%)Protein (%)Lactose (%)Ash (%)
Camel86 to 882.9 to 5.43.0 to 3.93.3 to 5.80.6 to 1.0
Cow85 to 873.7 to 4.43.2 to 3.84.8 to 4.90.7 to 0.8
Buffalo82 to 847.0 to 11.53.3 to 3.64.5 to 5.00.8 to 0.9
Sheep79 to 826.9 to 8.65.6 to 6.74.3 to 4.80.9 to 1.0
Goat87 to 884.0 to 4.52.9 to 3.73.6 to 4.20.8 to 0.9
Human88 to 893.3 to 4.71.1 to 1.36.8 to 7.00.2 to 0.3
SpeciesProtein (%)Fat (%)Lactose (%)Dry matter (%)
Dromedary camel3.035.943.1212.39
Bactrian camel33.36.672.7713.07

Table2: Chemical composition of milk of various species of camel, (Konuspayeva, 2007)

Antimicrobial qualities of camel milk

Camel milk contains many enzymes and proteins that have antimicrobial and immunological properties. Proteins and their immunological action are done by the lysozyme which contributes in the primary immune system. Iron in the milk exists as saturated lactoferrin (after lactation) which stops microbial growth in the intestine and contributes in the immune system. Camel milk provides much more lactoferrin than goat, cow and sheep milk. Also it haslactoperoxidase which has an anti-cancer and bactericidal activity and human thyroid peroxidase containing iodination and thyroid hormone coupling; peptidoglycan protein recognition is existing in the maximum proportion in the milk of camel and these have remarkable effect in the breast cancer in regulating metastasis, enhancing the immune system of the host. The N-acetyl-glycosaminidase in camel milk is in higher amount as comparison with other mammalians which has antibacterial and antiviral activities. The camel milk is effective against numerous deadly animal viral pathogens such as FMD, rinderpest and in rift valley fever.

Beneficial effects on human health

In the past camel milk was used as a home remedy for treatment of different diseases. Nowadays it is used worldwide, but this is not the primary choice for the peoples because its taste is salty. It has numerous useful assets as it is used for the treatment of autism, allergy and diabetes. Camel milk is becoming familiar because of its health benefits to prevent various health issues. Camel milk contains antimicrobial properties including, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal, cure from the attack of pathogens and various diseases. It has also been recognized as aiding the recuperation procedures of immune system infections having a snappy and constructive outcome on the mending procedure. Camel milk is ideal for lactose intolerant people due to low content of lactose in camel milk as compared to cowmilk.It is a good source of protein, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, niacin and it fulfils all the requirement of the body, and this milk is also beneficial for the treating and curing of autism, diabetes, diarrhoea, allergy, autoimmune and metabolic diseases etc. Thus the camel milk plays role of crux in the treating various disease and nowadays pivotal significance in human consumption.

Therapeutic properties of camel milk-

  1. The camel milk stimulates the proliferation of cells in MCF7 (human breast) and HepG2 (human hepatoma), this mechanism regulated by cell proliferation and death receptor activation in both the cell lines and oxidative stress, camel milk may play a vital role in reducing oxidative stress by altering the amounts of antioxidant enzymes and non-enzymatic antioxidant molecules, as demonstrated by the strengthened childhood autism rating scale.
  2. Camel milks, lactoferrin effectively prevents hepatitis C virus genotype-4 infection of human peripheral blood leucocytes and the human leukocyte incubation with camel LF by HCV infection stopped the virus from entering the cells. Thus the camel lactoferrin seemed to be a more active antiviral agent than bovine and human lactoferrin.
  3. The camel milk is known to cure tuberculosis, the strong bactericidal assets of camel milk combined with PGRP(peptidoglycan recognition proteins) impact the healing process rapidly and positively.
  4. This is also a normal source of alpha-hydroxyacids which soften the skin and keep it smooth and prevent from wrinkles, the α-hydroxyl acids help to remove wrinkles and age spots that alleviate dryness due to α-hydroxyl acids make the skin’s external layer thinner and improve the dermis lower layer making it thicker, the liposome that exist in camel milk are essential for cosmetic ingredient to enhance the anti-aging effect.
  5. It can also be used to treat various disorders of the cardiovascular system and this is beneficial for disorders of immune system such as Cohn’s disease and sclerosis infection.

Present scenario of camel milk-

  • FSSAI has framed standards for camel milk specifying the minimum content of Milk fat and SNF i.e. 3% and 6.5% respectively
  • The Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation’s (GCMMF) Sarhad Dairy, based in Kutch, begin camel milk production.
  •  This is the country’s largest dairy cooperative, which markets milk and milk products under the Amul brand. 
  • AMUL sells the camel milk in form of pasteurized bottle milk, ice-cream, chocolate and camel milk powder.
  • In India the highest camel population present in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana.
  • The production of camel milk has gradually increased due to an increased interest of consumers in recent years.
  • It has been felt that the demand for camel milk is increasing on one hand while the population of the camel is decreasing at a significant rate on the other hand.
  • It has been felt that the demand for camel milk is increasing on one hand while the population of the camel is decreasing at a significant rate on the other hand.
  • It has been felt that the demand for camel milk isincreasing on one hand while the population of the camel is decreasing at a significant rate on the other hand.
  • The Bikaneri, Jaisalmeri, Kachchhi and Mewari breed respectively produce 4.19±0.11 kg, 3.72±0.17 kg, 3.94±0.13 kg and 5±0.18 kg milk /day.

Jyotsana Rathore1, Monika Rani2