How are the legends about camel milk: the lactoferrin example?

Konuspayeva Gaukhar, Faye Bernard. 2015. How are the legends about camel milk: the lactoferrin example?. Veterinariâ, 42 (2), n.spéc. Silk road camel: The camelids, main stake for sustainable development : pp. 206-208. 4th Conference of the International Society of Camelid Research and Development/ISOCARD 2015. 4, Almaty, Kazakhstan, 8 June 2015/12 June 2015.

Journal article ; Article de revue sans comité de lecture
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Abstract : According to different authors, camel milk has many virtues, true or supposed, and is suggested as adjuvant treatment for different disorders like infectious diseases, diabetes, cancer, autism etc…Generally, these assertions are based on empirical observations or, in the best case, on very few clinical trials achieved more or less according to the correct scientific standard (sufficient number of patients, double-blind trials), or more recently on in-vitro experiments. The beneficial effect of camel milk on human health is generally attributed to some molecules (vitamin C, “insulin-like”, bio-active proteins,…) which were identified in camel milk. Camel lactoferrin (CamLf) is one of these molecules having a high affinity to iron, and by this way,it plays a role in iron uptake by the intestinal mucosa of the suckling neonate and thus be the source of iron for breast-fed infants. The Lf antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunomodulatory activities are useful for therapeutic applications. Recent publication mentioned also high inhibitory effect of Camel Lf on hepatitis C. A comparative study showed that camel Lf has the highest antimicrobial activity compared to other mammals. Moreover, since one study achieved in the year 2000, it is said that in camel milk, Lf is present in high amounts (10 times more than in cow milk) and show heat-resistant properties. These results were repeated several times without verification and the legend of camel milk able to resist to microbiological contamination for longer time than cow milkis currently reported in the scientific literature. Yet, this assertion is based on one publication only. Since this publication, several authors in Tunisia, Switzerland or Kazakhstan, have shown that by using proper analytical methods, camel milk contains only a slight higher quantity of Lf (20 to 40% more) compared to cow milk. Yet, the former results are more often cited in new publications, probably because such data strengthen the idea of the medical virtue of camel milk. The scientific community should be more careful in their conclusions and the experiments must be repeated in different contexts. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Lait de chamelle, Lactoferrine, Analyse microbiologique, Composition des aliments, Composition globale, Lait de vache, Valeur nutritive, publication

Classification Agris : Q04 - Food composition
L50 - Animal physiology and biochemistry

Champ stratégique Cirad : Axe 3 (2014-2018) - Alimentation durable

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Konuspayeva Gaukhar, Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (KAZ)
  • Faye Bernard, CIRAD-ES-UMR SELMET (SAU)

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