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Composition and physico-chemical characteristics of buffalo milk with particular emphasis on lipids, proteins, minerals, enzymes and vitamins.

  • Engro Foods Limited


The businesses community of different sectors affected by current energy crisis in Pakistan tends towards dairy business. They are highly interested by the information on milk composition particularly of buffalo milk due to its major contribution in national’s milk production i.e. 63% according to the FAO’s published data of 2010. It is necessary to know for maximum value addition in dairy food chain as the nutrients not only determine the dietary value of milk for human consumption but also help to define market strategies for various classes of consumers like growing children, nursing mothers, young persons involved in hard jobs or elderly people. Buffaloes are most important sources of milk for human consumption in several parts of the world including Pakistan. It is characterized by higher solids contents for being richer source of lipids, protein, lactose and minerals. Buffalo milk has long been valued by its important chemical composition determining nutritive properties and suitability in the manufacture of traditional as well as industrial dairy products. Recently buffalo milk’s constituents, their nutritional importance and bioactive properties have received much attention. In this paper, the composition and physico-chemical properties of major constituents of buffalo milk with particular emphasis on lipids, protein, minerals, enzymes and vitamins have been presented. The concentration and partition of major elements between different phases of buffalo milk are also given. The enzymic profiles as well as the nutrient molecules have been presented for the said milk which determines its suitability for various processes and end products. The available technologies need some modifications even from milking machines to industrial processing. It is a golden opportunity for the investors to come into buffalo milk business to get advantage from the government initiatives in the current period. In this way, we will be able to improve the genetic potential of buffaloes in getting more milk of higher quality and experimenting diversity of products particularly cheeses and other fermented dairy products for the local market and export by better exploiting the uniqueness of buffalo milk.
Ahmad et al. J Anim Plant Sci, 23(Sup 1): 2013
Proc Int Workshop Dairy Sci Park, Nov 21-23, 2011, Agric Univ Peshawar, Pakistan
Ahmad, S.*, F. M. Anjum, N. Huma, A. Sameen and T. Zahoor
National Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture Faisalabad
*Corresponding author Email:
National Institute of Food Science and Technology, University of Agriculture, Faisalabad-Pakistan
The businesses community of different sectors affected by current energy crisis in Pakistan tends towards dairy business.
They are highly interested by the information on milk composition particularly of buffalo milk due to its major
contribution in national’s milk production i.e. 63% according to the FAO’s published data of 2010. It is necessary to
know for maximum value addition in dairy food chain as the nutrients not only determine the dietary value of milk for
human consumption but also help to define market strategies for various classes of consumers like growing children,
nursing mothers, young persons involved in hard jobs or elderly people. Buffaloes are most important sources of milk for
human consumption in several parts of the world including Pakistan. It is characterized by higher solids contents for
being richer source of lipids, protein, lactose and minerals. Buffalo milk has long been valued by its important chemical
composition determining nutritive properties and suitability in the manufacture of traditiona l as well as industrial dairy
products. Recently buffalo milk’s constituents, their nutritional importance and bioactive properties have received much
attention. In this paper, the composition and physico-chemical properties of major constituents of buffalo milk with
particular emphasis on lipids, protein, minerals, enzymes and vitamins have been presented. The concentration and
partition of major elements between different phases of buffalo milk are also given. The enzymic profiles as well as the
nutrient molecules have been presented for the said milk which determines its suitability for various processes and end
products. The available technologies need some modifications even from milking machines to industrial processing. It is
a golden opportunity for the investors to come into buffalo milk business to get advantage from the government
initiatives in the current period. In this way, we will be able to improve the genetic potential of buffaloes in getting more
milk of higher quality and experimenting diversity of products particularly cheeses and other fermented dairy products
for the local market and export by better exploiting the uniqueness of buffalo milk.
Key words: Buffalo milk, chemical composition, physico-chemical properties.
Pakistan is among top ten milk producer of the
world with 35.5 billion liters annual milk production
(FAOSTAT, 2010). It is the 2nd largest buffalo and goat
milk producer in the world with 22.3 and 0.7 billion liters
production after India and Bangladesh, respectively.
Buffalo milk’s share is highest (62.8%) followed by cow
(34.9%), goat (2.0%), camel (0.2%) and sheep (0.1%).
Pakistan is blessed with a fairly large population of
buffaloes, cows, sheeps, camels and goats (30.8, 34.3,
27.8, 1.0 and 59.9 million, respectively) (FAOSTAT,
2010) with vast tracts of pastoral lands where a large
number of rural population engaged in cattle-raising. In
Pakistan, dairy is majorly considered as an unorganized
sector where the share of formal sector for industrial
processing is only 3-4% of the total national milk
production processed by very few multi-national and
national industries like Nestle, Haleeb, Engro, Millac,
Halla, Shakargaj, Noon, Premier, Gourmet, Prime etc.
Dairy sector remained a much neglected and
under-developed sector of agriculture for several decades
but now is considered as one of the priority area due to
increased internal mobility of investors with great
interest. Creation of a separate ministry of livestock and
dairy development is a clear recognition of the
importance of this sector. The businesses community of
different sectors of Pakistan has been badly affected by
current energy crisis (electricity and gas) particularly
textiles industries and started to shift towards dairy
business. They imported quite a large number of high
producing dairy animals and installed well-managed large
dairy farms with modern facilities. This class of
businessmen is highly interested by the information on
milk composition and their nutritional importance to
exploit maximum marketing worth.
The major aim of this manuscript is to provide
valuable information on chemical composition and
physico-chemical characteristics of buffalo milk.
Considerable amount of segregated published data is
available in recent years with respect to the chemical
The Journal of Animal and Plant Sciences, 23(1 Suppl.): 2013, Page: 62-74
ISSN: 1018-7081
Ahmad et al. J Anim Plant Sci, 23(Sup 1): 2013
Proc Int Workshop Dairy Sci Park, Nov 21-23, 2011, Agric Univ Peshawar, Pakistan
composition, properties and processing of buffalo milk. A
need is left for a critical review and updating of
knowledge on the detailed composition and properties of
buffalo milk as a base for better processing and
production of innovative dairy products. The major
constituents of buffalo milk for being higher in
concentration than that of human, cow, goat and camel
milk have been discussed in detail with their nutritional
values. In addition to its advantage as a rich source of
nutrients, a recent study by Sheehan et al. (2009)
indicated that subjects with cow milk allergy are able to
tolerate buffalo milk. Buffalo milk may contain almost all
the beneficial compounds found in other milks, e.g.,
proteins, peptides, fatty acids, vitamins, and other
bioactive compounds. Buffalo milk has higher levels of
total protein, medium chain fatty acids, CLA, and
contents of retinol and tocopherols than those of cow
milk. Some components may only be present in buffalo
milk such as specific classes of gangliosides (Berger et
al., 2005). Interest in buffaloes is growing globally as the
first import of buffaloes to France took place in 1998
(Coop de Bufflonnes, 2010) and to Sweden in the
beginning of 2009 (Larsson et al., 2009) after observing
successes in other countries of Europe like Italy and
Bulgaria in order to obtain high quality milk and meat
with less cholesterol level in both products.
Because of the increasing of people awareness
for food safety, knowing the chemical composition of
buffalo milk has a great significance for further
development of hygienic processing into quality products
for the consumer (Mihaiu et al., 2010). The information
in this manuscript will definitely provide a roadmap to
create awareness about this unique milk for which we can
get international fame by achieving large increases in
productivity, value added, marketed milk, develop new
products and improve quality of the existing products.
Because of the differences in compositional and
physiochemical properties between buffalo and other
milks, processing technology and equipment designed for
other milks need sensible modification for buffalo milk
processing. Buffalo milk can be utilized for manufacture
of a wide variety of dairy products with limited
modifications in processing technology.
According to the definition of USDA (2011),
water buffalo milk is the normal lacteal secretion
practically free of colostrum, obtained by the complete
milking of one or more healthy water buffalo. Water
buffalo milk shall be produced according to the sanitary
standards of this ordinance. Quite a number of studies
focused on cow milk, even if the milk produced by other
animals such as buffaloes are essential in human diet in
different parts of the world. Buffalo milk is a totally
natural product that can be consumed like any other milk.
It is one of the richest products from a compositional
point of view and characterized by higher fat, total solids,
proteins, caseins, lactose and ash contents than cow, goat,
camel and human milk. Monitoring changes in
composition of buffalo milk over years is important as an
overall index for the combined effects of environmental
and genetic factors. Zicarelli (2004a) recorded an
increase in fat content of Italian buffalo milk from 7.3 to
8.3% and its protein content from 4.4 to 4.8%
respectively from 1967 to 2000. Differences in the
composition of buffalo milk in different localities reflect
differences in breeds, management, feeding and
environmental conditions. General composition of
buffalo is given in the table 1.
The high milk solids of buffalo milk not only
make it ideal for processing into superb dairy products
but also contribute to significant energy savings in
conducting that process. Buffalo milk yogurts and
cheeses are natural thick set without recourse to adding
addition milk proteins or gelling agents as with lesser
milks. Dairies love to work with buffalo milk, which we
all know makes the best mozzarella. The smooth texture
and richness converts into a truly wonderful range
of multiple award winning products.
Proteins: The protein content of buffalo milk is higher
than in cow (Ragab et al., 1958; Ganguli, 1973, Ahmad et
al., 2008).Of the total proteins of buffalo milk, ~80% are
caseins and ~20% are whey proteins with traces of minor
proteins (Laxminarayana and Dastur, 1968; Sirry et al.,
1984; Sahai, 1996). Whey proteins and minor proteins are
even higher in colostrum than mature buffalo milk.
Caseins: Almost all casein of buffalo milk is present in
the micellarform (Ganguli, 1973; Sabarwal and Ganguli,
1970a). Buffalo milk contains a negligible proportion of
soluble casein (0.03 g.100mL-1) about 1 % of the total
casein unlike cow milk (0.11 g.100mL-1) about 5 % of the
total casein (Sabarwal and Ganguli, 1971). The caseins in
buffalo milk are sub-classified into s1-, s2-, - and -
casein and the concentrations are given in the table 2.
Physico-chemical characteristics of caseins micelles:
Casein micelles of buffalo have average diameter of 190
nm (Ahmad, 2010) which found about 10-20 nm bigger
in size than that of cow agree with the findings of other
authors (Ganguli, 1973; Sood et al., 1976;Sirry et
al.1984; Sarswat, 1985).Overall, micelles of buffalo milk
found globally spherical and individual (Fig. 1).
The higher casein concentration in buffalo milk
and almost 100% in colloidal form seems to have primary
impact to increase the numbers of casein micelles and
secondary impact on size.More casein concentration is
possibly translated into more number of casein mic elles
in buffalo milk.mL-1 as compared to number of casein
micelles.mL-1 of cow milk.
Charges could be due to glycosylated parts
present on -CN, the protein being present at the
Ahmad et al. J Anim Plant Sci, 23(Sup 1): 2013
Proc Int Workshop Dairy Sci Park, Nov 21-23, 2011, Agric Univ Peshawar, Pakistan
periphery of casein micelles which is similar as for cow
milk (Ahmad, 2010). The lower hydration of buffalo
milks’ casein micelles as compared to cow milk could be
due to their larger size and high concentration of colloidal
calcium so it leaves less space for water molecules to
inculcate. Some other authors (Kuchroo and Malik, 1976;
Sabarwal and Ganguli, 1970a) also found the similar
results. Further investigations are needed to observe the
structural differences and compactness of casein micelles
as compared to the casein micelles of other milks to
better exploit the functional and nutritional characteristics
of individual caseins.
Opacity of the buffalo casein micelle is greater
than that of the cow casein micelle (Sabarwal and
Ganguli, 1970b). Buffalo casein contains lower
proportions of sialic acid (2.0mg.g-1 casein), hexose
(2.5mg) and hexosamine (1.8mg), but higher proportions
of calcium (Sabarwal et al., 1972), while heating of milk
reduces sialic acid, hexose and hexosamine contents
(Sabarwal and Ganguli, 1973). Electrophoretic separation
of casein components showed 44, 53 and 3% for buffalo
s-, -, and -casein vs. 55, 39 and 6% for the cow milk
casein fractions(Ganguli and Bhalerao, 1964). All three
fractions of buffalo milk casein have slower mobility than
cow milk casein. The proportions of s1-, s2-, - and -
caseins were 40, 6–9, 35 and 12%, respectively
(Yamauchi et al., 1983). The N and P contents of buffalo
s1-casein are about 15 and 0.1%, respectively. Amino
acid composition of buffalo and cow s1-casein is
similar. Buffalo -casein is heterogeneous with eight sub
fractions, which are similar in P but different in
carbohydrate contents. Amino acid composition of
buffalo -casein is comparable to that of cow milk, but
poorer in sialic acid. Overall 95% homology exists in the
amino acids sequences of all casein classes between
buffalo and cow milk.
Whey Protein: The proportions of whey proteins in
buffalo milk are similar to those in cow milk, and the
amino acid composition of buffalo -lactoglobulin (-Lg)
is identical to that of cow milk(Mawal et al., 1965)
except that it does not exhibit genetic polymorphisms
(Senand Sinha, 1961). The molecular weight of buffalo
-Lg is 38.5 kD. Buffalo and cow -lactalbumin (-LA)
have the same crystalline form and similar nitrogen
content. The molecular weight of buffalo -LA is 16.2
kD, and no genetic polymorphisms have been observed
(Malik and Bhatia, 1977). Buffalo-LA has one major
and three minor fractions, but all are active in modifying
the activity of glactosyltransferase in the synthesis of
lactose (Sindhu and Singhal, 1988). The concentrations
of immunoglobulins (Ig) are very high in buffalo
colostrum (Kulkarni, 1981),and four classes have been
identified (IgGa, IgA1, IgA2 and IgM). Lactoferrin
content of buffalo milk is much higher than in cow milk
(Sahai, 1996). Its content in buffalo colostrums is still
higher (0.75 mg.mL-1). The molecular weight is 73.7–
74.0 kD.
Fat: Buffalo milk is nearly twice as rich in fat as
compared to cow milkand the most important fraction
responsible for its high energetic and nutritive value.
Varrichio et al. (2007) reported the fact that the fat
content has an average value of 8.3% but can also reach
upto 15% under normal conditions. Tonhati et al., (2011)
found the fat yield means 90.1±24·6 Medhammar
et al. (2011) also found the interbreed differences of in
total fat in buffalo, yak, mare and dromedary camel milks
and as well in the mineral contents.
Fat related constituents: Fatty acid composition,
however, in buffalo milkfat is different from that of cow
milk fat (Ramamurthy and Narayanan, 1971;Joshi and
Vyas, 1976;Arora et al., 1986;Zicarelli, 2004b,Menard et
al., 2010).Some authors reported changes in the fatty
acids composition of buffalo milk as a function ofbreed
(Talpur et al., 2007), lactatingstage (Arumughan and
Narayanan, 1981), season (Talpur et al., 2008;Asker et
al., 1978) and diet (Patiñoet al., 2008).The differences
are present not only among species but also within
species i.e. among breeds of buffaloes regarding fat and
fatty acids concentration. Talpur et al. (2007) studied two
major buffalo breeds of Pakistan i.e. Nili-Ravi and Kundi
for fat. The milk fat of Kundi buffalo was found to
contain significantly lower amount of saturated fatty acid
contents than Nili-Ravi buffaloes (66.96 and 69.09
g.100g-1),higher monounsaturated fatty acid contents
(27.62 and 25.20 g.100g-1) and total trans fatty acids
(3.48 vs. 2.48). In another study, Qureshi et al. (2010)
found that Nili-Ravi dairy buffaloes produce milk almost
similar to dairy cows regarding availability of cardio
protective fatty acids, with the highest concentration of
oleic acid (C18:1cis-9, 29.47 g/100 g). Buffaloes with
moderate body condition yielded greater concentrations
of these fatty acids followed by poorand highest ones.
Two hypercholestolemic fatty acids (C12:0 and C14:0)
were associated with higher body condition. Proportions
of C4, C16,C17, and C18 fatty acids (FA) are higher, but
C6,C8, C10, C12, C14, and C14:1fatty acids are lower in
buffalothan in cow milk fat. Soliman et al. (1979) gave
an average total saturated and unsaturated fatty acid
content of 71.7% and 28.3% respectively in Egyptian
buffalo milk fat. The intra-molecular fattyacid
distribution is similar to that of other species (Freeman et
al., 1965).Buffalo milk fat has a greater proportion of
high melting triglycerides than that of cow milk fat(9
12% and 5–6%, respectively) (Ramamurthy and
Narayanan, 1974).The high melting triglycerides fraction
contains less short-chain and unsaturated fatty acids.
High, medium and low molecular weight triglycerides in
buffalo milk are 42%, 17%, and 41% of total,
respectively (Arumughan and Narayanan, 1982).
Colostrum and late lactation milk are rich in unsaturated
Ahmad et al. J Anim Plant Sci, 23(Sup 1): 2013
Proc Int Workshop Dairy Sci Park, Nov 21-23, 2011, Agric Univ Peshawar, Pakistan
but poor in saturated fatty acids (Anantakrishnan et al.,
1946). Buffalo milk fat contains more tetraenoic and
pentaenoic but less dienoic and trienoic fatty acids than
cow milk fat (Ramamurthy and Narayanan, 1971).
Buffalo milk fat has a higher melting point, density,
specific gravity and saponification value, but lower
refractive index, acid and iodine values than cow milk
fat, although they are affected by stage of lactation,
season, feed and thermal oxidation (Angelo and Jain,
1982). Buffalo milk and ghee contain less free fatty acids
than milk and ghee from cows (Pantulu and Ramamurthy,
1982; Lal and Narayanan, 1983).
Cholesterol levels (total and free) in buffalo
milk fat appear to be lower than in that of cow milk as
shown in the table 5 (Zicarelli, 2004b). Colostrum and
mastitic milk contained more cholesterol than normal
milk. Cholesterol content in fore-milk is higher than in
stripping; also, it is higher in milk during the spring
season. Esterified cholesterol, however, was higher in
buffalo than in cow milk fat (64 and 48 mg.100g-1,
respectively) (Bindal and Jain, 1973; Prasad and Pandita,
1987).The phospholipids content of milk is a function of
fat content and size of fat globules. A significant
correlation has been found between PL and fat content of
buffalo milk. The phospholipid contents of buffalo milk
is slightly higher (29.6mg.100mL-1) in summer time than
in winter (24.7 mg.100mL-1).The phospholipid content of
buffalo milk, butter and ghee per unit weight of fat is
much lower than in cow milk fat (Baliga and Basu,
1956). Colostrum has more phospholipids, which
becomes normal in 15 days. The phospholipid contents
are maximum in January and minimum in July. The ratio
of lecithin: cephalin: sphingomyelin is 48:40: 12 in cow
milk and 40:48:12 in buffalo milk (Rawat, 1963).Buffalo
milk contains gangliosides which are not present in
cowmilk (Berger et al., 2005). A gangliosides fraction in
buffalo milk show a GM1- specific binding to cholera a
toxin subunit B. Also the lipholipic gangliosides of
buffalo milk have anti-inflamatry activity (Colarow et al.,
2003).Milk Fat contains wide range of carbonyl
compounds and their precursor keto-glycerides a part of
the delicate flavor system of milk fat. Monocarbonyl
content of buffalo milk fat is higher than that of cow milk
fat. Colostral fat contained 60-70% of total carbonyls in
normal milk fat, increased rapidly during early lactation
and then gradually therefore (Bhatand Rao, 1983).
Physico-chemical characteristics of fat globules: The
fat globule in buffalo milk is coarse and bigger than in
cow milk (1 ml buffalo milk contains about 2.7 million
fat globules), with 60% having a size between 3.5 to 7.5
µm(Akhundov, 1958; Akhundov, 1959; Abd El-Hamid
and Khader, 1989; Ahmad et al., 2008).The average size
of fat golubles in buffalo milk (5µm) is higher than cow,
goat and sheep milk being 3.2, 2.6 and 3.0 µm
respectively. El-Zeini et al. (2006) reported much
average globule sizes (8.7µm) in buffalo milk as
compared to 3.8, 3.8, 3.2 and 3.0 µm for cow, sheep,
goats and camel milks. Higher percentage (20.34%) of
large fat globules (16-18µm) has been found in buffalo
milk but not in the milk of other ruminants. The buffalo
milk fat globule has spherical shapes (Fig. 2) as that of
other milk but differs markedly from fat globules of other
ruminants in its rheological characteristic. The respective
parameters of buffalo milk fat globules are compactness,
sphericity, surface roughness, length, width, orientation
are 0.71, 0.59, 0.91, 58.34, 9.85, 4.67, 9.85, 4.15 and
107.46 respectively. The total concentration of saturated
fatty acid of buffalo milk fat globule membrane varied
from 66.2 to 78.3 and unsaturated fatty acids from 21.7 to
33.5% in agreement with result of milk fat globule
membrane of buffalo milk from different breeds. The
proteins:lipids ratios of isolated membranes vary from 3.2
to 4.7 but the total neutral and polar lipids are almost
similar in different seasons (Sharma et al., 1994; Sharma
et al., 1996).
Lactose: Lactose is a disaccharide made up of glucose
and galactose bonded together in buffalo milk like other
milks. Buffalo milk is richer source of lactose than cow,
goat, sheep and camel milk so agood of source of energy
for body activities particularly of brain and hormonal
regulation. Before it can be used by the body, the bond
must be broken by the enzyme lactase in the small
intestine. People that have decreased activity of lactase in
the small intestine may have problem of lactose digesting
and this is referred to as lactose intolerance or
malabsorption. Due to higher concentration, the chances
of such problems are more by using buffalo milk but
cases have not been noticed as for cow milk, may be due
different repartition of lactose in the buffalo milk.
Complex oligosaccharides constitute a large
portion of lactose of milk and perform biological
functions that are closely related to their structural
conformation. They contribute to the growth of beneficial
intestinal flora in the colon, postnatal stimulation of the
immune system and provide defense against bacterial and
viral infections by acting as competitive inhibitors for
binding sites on the intestinal epithelial surface (Kunz et
al., 2000; Kunz and Rudloff, 2002). Varman and
Sutherland (2001) have explained that lactose makes a
major contribution to the colligative properties of milk,
such as osmotic pressure, freezing point depression and
boiling point elevation. Oligosaccharide distributions in
human milk and colostrum and milk of domestic animals
(cows, goats, sheep, and buffaloes) have also been
studied by Mehra and Kelly (2006). The levels of
oligosaccharides in cow, sheep and goat milk are much
lower (Urashimaet al., 1997; Martinez-Ferezet al., 2006),
whereas comparable in buffalo milk. The low
concentration of oligosaccharides in cow milk and
colostrum has stalled their utilization as biologically
Ahmad et al. J Anim Plant Sci, 23(Sup 1): 2013
Proc Int Workshop Dairy Sci Park, Nov 21-23, 2011, Agric Univ Peshawar, Pakistan
active ingredients in the health care and food sector but it
opens the door for milk and colostrum like of buffaloes
having comparable oligosaccharides levels as in human
milk. Much research interest is being shown in recent
period on the potential of milk oligosaccharides in infant
nutrition. A processed oligosaccharide mixture of buffalo
milk induced significant stimulation of antibody, delayed
type hypersensitivity response to sheep red blood cells in
BALB/c mice and also stimulated nonspecific immune
response of the animals in terms of macrophage
migration index. Saksena et al. (1999) isolated a novel
pentasaccharide from buffalo milk oligosaccharides
containing a fraction with immune stimulant activity.
Currenly, there is only limited data and research findings
on oligosaccharides in buffalo milk. Abd El-Fattah et al.
(2012) observed that at calving, all components decreased
gradually as the transition period advanced except lactose
which conversely increased. Milk oligosaccharides are
divided into neutral (don’t contain any charged
monosaccharides residues) and acidic (contain one or
more residues of sialic acid that are negative charged)
classes (Gopal and Gill, 2000). The galactose, N-
acetylgalactosamine and sialic acid contents of buffalo -
CN fractions ranged from 0 to 4.3, 5.5 and 8.5
moles.mole-1 protein, respectively (Addeo et al., 1977).
Aparna and Salimath (1995) reported the composition of
oligosaccharides, and isolation and structural elucidation
of disialyl lactose, from the colostrum of buffalo as three
fractions with different concentration of glycopeptides (i)
0.2-0.8%, (ii) 0.3-1.5%) and (iii) 2.2-2.8%. A
sialoglycopeptide was isolated from buffalo colostrum in
pure form which consists of fucose, galactose, mannose,
N-acetyl glucosamine and N-acetyl neuraminic acid in the
ratio 1:2:3:4:1, and aspartic acid, serine, threonine,
proline and glutamic acid as the major amino acids.
Glycine was identified as the N-terminal amino acid
Minerals: Buffalo milk has been found to contain more
minerals than cow milk. Contents of macro minerals and
selected trace elements in dairy products have been
published by Cashman (2002a, b). The chemical form in
which a macro mineral and trace element is found in milk
or in other foods and supplements is important, because it
will influence the degree of intestinal absorption and
utilization, transport, cellular assimilation, and
conversion into biologically active forms, and thus
bioavailability. Buffalo milk is characterized by high
calcium content than in cow, goat and camel milk). Most
of calcium is found in insoluble form mainly due to the
high casein contents of buffalo milk which plays an
important role in determining the properties of buffalo
milk. Based on the available data the insoluble calcium
represents 67.6-82.6% of the total calcium. It has been
estimatedthat micellarcalcium in buffalo milk to be 1.12
mM.g-1 casein as compared to 0.84 mM.g-1 casein in cow
milk (Ahmad et al., 2008). The ionizablecalcium of
buffalo milk represents 34.6% of the soluble calcium.
Buffalo milk is also rich in phosphorous contents. The
phosphorous is disturbed between colloidal inorganic
phosphate (42.4% of total), soluble inorganic phosphate
(30.0%of total) and esters phosphorous (9.2% of total)
(Abd El-Salam and El-Shibiny, 1966). The soluble
magnesium represents 50% of total magnesium and
soluble citrate represents 85% of the total citrate while
sodium, potassium and chloride are almost completely
present as soluble salts.
The presence of 15 elements presents as traces
in buffalo milk has been reported in the table 7. Wide
variations are found in reported levels of traces elements
in buffalo milk which reflect the difference variable on
the composition of milk in addition to differences in the
used methods of analysis. Zinc, iron, and copper content
of buffalo milk have received special attention. Trace
elements are distributed variably between different
phases of buffalo milk. Boron is found in buffalo milk as
44.8% soluble, 37.6% associated with fat and 17.6%
associated to casein. It contains 18%, 72%, and 10% of
zinc as soluble associated with casein and lipid phase,
While, 36.5, 42.5 and 21% of iron are found in cream,
rennet whey and rennet curd. The secretion of some trace
elements seems to be affected by hormonal like oxytocin
administration which increases copper and manganese
contents and decreases magnesium, iron and zinc
contents without altering the calcium concentration of
buffalo milk (Sheehan et al., 2009).
Enzymes: Milk contains numerous minor proteins having
physiological effects. These minor proteins include
enzymes, metal-binding proteins, enzyme inhibitors,
vitamin binding proteins, and numerous growth factors
(Fox, 2001). The enzymes concentrations in buffalo milk
are given in the table 8.Lysozyme (LZ) is a basic protein
enzyme with a low-molecular weight and important
component of the antibacterial system in milk.
Priyadarshini and Kansal (2002b) found the molecular
weight of buffalo milk LZ to be 16 kDa, and determined
its antibacterial activity. Buffalo colostrum contains five-
times more LZ activity than mature milk (Priyadarshini
and Kansal 2002a) and higher specific activity than that
of cow milk LZ. Buffalo milk LZ is active over a wide
range of pH and its activity is strongly influenced by the
molarity of the medium. LZ activity in buffalo milk was
not influenced by parity and stage of lactation; however,
it increased during extreme weather conditions in winter
and summer. The higher LZ activity in buffalo milk
possibly is one of the factors responsible for lesser
incidences of udder infections in buffaloes. Buffalo calf
receives greater amounts of LZ during first few days after
birth in colostrum which shows five times greater LZ
activity than mature milk, one of the main reasons of
prevention of enteric infections (Pri yadarshini and
Ahmad et al. J Anim Plant Sci, 23(Sup 1): 2013
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Kansal, 2003). LZ has found application in food
preservation like egg-while lysozyme is already being
used successfully as an antimicrobial in many foods,
especially in cheese (Benkerroum, 2008). LZ in buffalo
milk is more stable than in cow milk during storage and
heat treatment (Priyadarshini and Kansal, 2002b). Buffalo
milk LZ found fully stable (El-Dakhakhny 1995;
Priyadarshini and Kansal 2002a), whereas cow milk LZ
was partly inactivated by pasteurization. Buffalo milk
lactoperoxidase (LP) has been studied extensively
(Kumar and Bhatia, 1994; Kumar et al., 1995; Kumar and
Bhatia, 1998, 1999; Van Nieuwenhove et al., 2004).
Kumar and Bhatia (1999) observed that LP is more stable
in whey prepared from buffalo milk. Buffalo LP is pH
sensitive undergoing denaturation at low pH, while
relatively stable in the range of pH 5-10 (Kumar and
Bhatia, 1994). Kumar and Bhatia (1999) reported that at
72°C buffalo milk LP alone in acetate buffer (0.1 M, pH
6.0) was completely inactivated at zero time, while the
presence of salts induced thermal protection to LP
structure. LP content found the most abundant enzyme in
buffalo milk. LP has antimicrobial properties and b ecause
of its broad biocidal and biostatic activity, LP has found
many commercial applications, especially targeting oral
pathogen (Tenovuo, 2002).In buffaloes the xanthine
oxidase (XO) activity gradually increases in colostrum
and then decreases with the changeover to the secretion
of milk (Gandhi and Ahuja, 1979).XO is negatively
correlated with the fat content of the milk. The activity of
partially purified XO from buffalo milk fat globules was
optimal at pH 7.6. The Km and Vmax values were 48-55
μM xanthine and 92-125 mμ.mg-1 protein, respectively.
In the presence of phospholipids, especially phosphatidyl
serine and phosphatidyl inositol, the temperature -
dependent inactivation of XO is decreased, indicating a
protective effect of phospholipids on XO.
Vitamins: Buffalo milk contains only traces of carotene,
but higher vitamin A than cow milk (Narayanan et al.,
1952). Carotene and vitamin A in different seasons are
3.0 and 67.1, 2.9 and 73.3, 1.8 and 48.1, 2.2 and
48.4µg.100mL-1 in winter, spring, summer and autumn,
respectively (Narayanan et al., 1956; Ibrahim et al.,
1983). However, due to the absence of carotenoids and
high fat content, its total vitamin A potency per unit
weight of fat is lower than in cow milk fat (Sampath et
al., 1955). The feeding of cotton seed to buffaloes leads
to an increase in vitamin A content in its milk fat (Pandya
and Patel, 1972). Heating of milk causes a decrease in its
vitamin A content (El-Abd et al.,1986). Several studies
reported that buffalo milk contains higher ascorbic acid
(vitamin C) than cow milk (Singh and Gupta, 1986;
Mohammad et al., 1990). The thiamine content of buffalo
milk varies from 38.7to 53.0µg.100mL-1.Buffalo milk
contains less riboflavin than cow milk and riboflavin of
milk from the two species decrease markedly with
exposure to sunlight whilst exposure to fluorescent light
has much less effect. Buffalo milk contains average
riboflavin contents of 158.8µg.100mL-1(146.4 and 183
µg.100mL-1on berseem and oats diets, respectively)
(Sikkaet al., 1993).Buffalo milk from Indian breeds
contains less folic acid than cow milk and goat milk. The
bound and total folate decreased from 22.7 and 54.7
ng.mL-1 in the first day after calving to 18.2 and 37.8
ng.mL-1, respectively after 55 days of parturition. The
folate binding capacity of buffalo milk is less than that
for cow and goat milk. Folic acid content in Egyptian
buffalo milk was reported to be 1.368 µg.100g-1 dry
matters similar to that of Indian buffalo milk (Sharaf,
1989).The average niacin, biotin and B12 contents in
buffalo milk are 1.3mg.100g-1, 6.7µg.100g-1 and 1.9
µg.100g-1dry matters content. Buffalo milk contains 4
folds higher vitamin B12 (21.7 ppb) compared to cow
milk (4.9ppb) (Sharma et al., 2007).The concentrations of
B vitamins in buffalo milk are: thiamin, 0.5; riboflavin,
1.0; nicotinic acid, 2.6; biotin, 26.8; folic acid, 0.1;
pantothenic acid, 1.5; pyridoxine, 3.8; vitamin B12, 3.4;
and p-aminobenzoic acid, 26.8 μ (Pasricha, 1969).
Raw buffalo milk contained more riboflavin, B6, and
folic acid and less thiamin than raw cow milk. Heat
treatment of the milk caused the loss of 7 37% of
thiamin, 8 – 35% of B6 , 8 45% of folic acid, and 0.4
4% of riboflavin. Losses of all vitamins were higher in
cow milk than in buffalo milk. Losses were lower for
pasteurization than by microwave or conventional boiling
and in - bottle sterilization (Sharma and Darshan,
1998).Buffalo Milk also contains high levels of
the natural antioxidant tocopherol. Peroxidate activity is
normally 2-4 times that of cows’ milk.
Buffalo milk is very white and beautifully
smooth. The pH of buffalo milk ranges from 6.57 to 6.84
and is not influenced by month, lactation number, or
season of calving, but correlated with solid-not-fat and
lactose contents (Minieri et al., 1965). Acidity varies
from 0.05% to 0.20% (Dharmarajan et al., 1950.), and its
colostrum has greater acidity than mature milk. In fresh
milk, lactic acid accounted for 25% of total acidity.
Acidity was correlated with fat and solid-not-fat
percentage in buffalo milk but not in cow milk (Hofi et
al., 1966a). The freezing point of buffalo milk is in the
range of 0.552 to 0.558° C (Hofi et al.,1966b), but
boiling and souring decrease the freezing point, and
vacuum treatment, cold storage, and the addition of water
increase the freezing point. The maximum buffering
index was 0.042 at pH 4.9–5.1 for buffalo milk and 0.035
at pH 5.1–5.2 for cow milk (Rao et al.,1955; Rao et al.,
1956). The refractive index of buffalo milk (at 40°C)
varies from 1.346 to 1.353 compared to cow milk, which
is 1.345 to 1.348, with proteins and lactose contributing
Ahmad et al. J Anim Plant Sci, 23(Sup 1): 2013
Proc Int Workshop Dairy Sci Park, Nov 21-23, 2011, Agric Univ Peshawar, Pakistan
most (Rangappa, 1947).Buffalo milk with 6.4% fat and
10.2% solid-not-fat had mean density of1.034 g.mL-1 at
its freezing point (Roy and Chandra, 1978) with little
difference between cow and buffalo milk, but separation
of cream increased the density of buffalo milk (Abo-
Elanga, 1966).Curd tension in buffalo milk (32–85 g) is
nearly 1.5 times that of cow milk (28–54 g) and increases
at the end of lactation (Rao et al.,1964), but heat
treatment from pasteurization decreases it by 10–28%,
boiling by 58%, sterilization by 87%, homogenization by
24–73%, and addition of sodium citrate or sodium hexa-
meta-phosphate by up to 97% (Tambat and Srinivasan,
Table-1: General composition of buffalo milk (
Total solids
Altman and Dittmer (1961)
Sindhu and Singhal (1988)
Jan (1999)
Ahmad et al. (2008)
Menard et al. (2010)
Han et al. (2012)
Table-2:Proteins and nitrogenous fractions in buffalo milk
Nitrogenous fractions
Nitrogenous fractions
Total casein
Proteose peptone (
S1-casein (
Serum albumin (
S2-casein (
Lactoferrin (
-casein (
Non protein nitrogen (
-casein (
Amino acid (mg N.100g-1)
Non casein nitrogen (
Creatinine (mg N.100g-1)
Whey protein (
Creatine (mg N.100g-1)
-lactoglobulin (
Uric acid (mg N.100g-1)
-lactalbumin (
Ammonia (mg N.100g-1)
Immunoglobulins (A, M & G)
Undetermined (mg N.100g-1)
aSahai (1996); b(Pandya and Khan, 2006); cAhmadet al. (2008)
Table-3: Physico-chemical characteristics of casein micelles of buffalo milk
Buffalo milk
Size of micelles (nm)
Charge of micelles (mV)
Water content (g H2O.g-1 dry pellet)
Voluminosity (mL.g-1)
aSoodet al. (1976); bAhmad (2010)
Table-4: Amino acids contents of buffalo milk (
Amino acids
Amino acids
Aspartic acid
Glutamic acid
(Aliyev, 2005)
Ahmad et al. J Anim Plant Sci, 23(Sup 1): 2013
Proc Int Workshop Dairy Sci Park, Nov 21-23, 2011, Agric Univ Peshawar, Pakistan
Table-5: Fatty acids and other fat related constituents of buffalo milk (% wt)
Fat related constituents
Fat related constituents
C4:0 butyric acid
C18:2 c9, t11 (Main CLA)
C6:0 caproic acid
Saturated fatty acids
C8:0 caprylic acid
Unsaturated fatty acids
C10:0 capric acid
C10:1 caproleic acid
C18:1 trans octadecenoic acid
C12:0 lauric acid
Total trans (C18:1 trans + CLA)
C14:0 myristic acid
Monounsaturated fatty acids
C14:1 c9 myritoleic acid
C15:0 pentadecanoic acid
C15:1 c10 pentadecenoic acid
C16:0 palimitic acid
C16:0 branched
C16:1 c9 palmitoleic acid
C17:0 heptadecanoic acid
C17:1 c10 heptadecenoic acid
C18:0 branched
C18:0 stearic acid
C18:1 t6+t7+t8+t9 octadecenoic acid
C18:1 t10 octadecenoic acid
C18:1 t11 octadecenoic acid
C18:1 t12 octadecenoic acid
C18:1 c9 oleic acid
C18:2 c9,c12 (6) linoleic acid
C18:3 c9, c12, c15 (3) linolenic acid
Total cholesterol (mg.100g-1)
C20:0 arachidic acid
Free cholesterol (mg.100g-1)
C20:4 arachidonic acid
aRamamurthy and Narayanan (1971);bArora et al. (1986);cZicarelli (2004a),dMenard et al.(2010); t:trans; c:cis
Table-6: Physico-chemical characteristics of fat
globules of buffalo milk
Size (m)
Charge (mV)
d43 (m)
Specific surface area (m2.g-1fat)
Number of fat globules (million.mm3)
aLaxminarayana and Dastur, (1968); bAhmad (2010); cMenard et al.
(2010); d:diameter
Table-7: Average concentrations of major minerals
and trace elements in buffalo milk
Total Calcium (mM)
Colloidal (mM)
Soluble (mM)
Total Phosphate (mM)
Colloidal (mM)
Soluble (mM)
Total Magnesium (mM)
Colloidal (mM)
Soluble (mM)
Total Citrate (mM)
Sodium (soluble) (mM)
Potassium (soluble) (mM)
Chloride (soluble) (mM)
Boron (g.100mL-1)
Cobalt (g.100mL-1)
Copper (g.100mL-1)
Iron (g.100mL-1)
Manganese (g.100mL-1)
Sulphur (g.100mL-1)
Zinc (g.100mL-1)
aAhmad et al. (2008); bSahai (1996)
Table-8: Concentrations of major enzymes in buffalo
Lysozyme (g.mL-1)
Lactoperoxidase (Units.mL-1)
Xanthine Oxidase (Units.mL-1)
Lipase (Units.mL-1)
Alkaline phosphatase (Units.mL-1)
Ribonuclease (g.mL-1)
Protease (Units.mL-1)
Sahai (1996)
Ahmad et al. J Anim Plant Sci, 23(Sup 1): 2013
Proc Int Workshop Dairy Sci Park, Nov 21-23, 2011, Agric Univ Peshawar, Pakistan
Table-9: Vitamins concentrations of buffalo milk
Vitamin A (IU.mL-1)
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) (mg.L-1)
Riboflavin (mg.L-1)
Pryridoxine (mg. L-1)
Thiamine (mg.L-1)
Tocopherol (g.g-1)
Sahai (1996)
Table-10: Physico-chemical characteristics of buffalo
Buffalo milk
Acidity (D°)
Freezing point (°C)
Urea (mg.L-1)
Viscosity (cp)
Refractive index
Surface tension (
Heat coagulation time at 140V
8 min 48 secb
Phosphate test at 100C (mL)
Energy (kcal)
White (L) (a.u.)
Green (-a) (a.u.)
Yellow (b) (a.u.)
aLaxminarayana and Dastur, (1968); bAhmad (2010);
Figure-1: Image of caseins micelles of buffalo milk
through scanning electron microscope
(Ahmad, 2010)
Figure-2: Fat globules of buffalo milk through optical
microscope (Menard et al., 2010)
Conclusions: Buffalo milk is a richer source of major
and minor components which are essential to provide the
nutritional requirements to human body. The
compositional and characteristics differences from milk
of other mammalian species depict that exiting
technological or processing effects must be different.
These available technologies need some modifications
even from milking machines to industrial processing. It is
a golden opportunity for the investors to come into
buffalo milk business to get advantage from the
government initiatives in the current period. In this way,
we will be able to improve the genetic potential of
buffaloes in getting more milk of higher quality and
experimenting diversity of products particularly cheeses
and other fermented dairy products for the local market
and export by better exploiting the uniqueness of buffalo
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In Brazil, the buffalo milk market has been growing. However, identity and quality standards have not been established for this raw material, nor have proper distinctions between buffalo milk and bovine milk been defined. Currently, the State of Rio Grande do Sul (RS) has only three producers that supply raw material for officially marketed derivatives. The aim of this study was to determine the identity and quality standards of raw buffalo milk in this region. Samples were obtained biweekly from three farm cooling tanks between June 2017 and August 2018, to reach a total of 69 samples. The averages for the results of the physicochemical parameters fat, protein, lactose, total solids, SNF (solids-not-fat), calcium, density, FP, acidity and SCC were 5.5 g/100 g, 4.06 g/100 g, 5.07 g/100 g, 15.5 g/100 g, 9.96 g/100 g, 0.161 g/100 g, 1.034 g/ml, −0.527°C, 16°D and 95 × 10 ³ cells/ml, respectively. With reference to the microbiological parameters, the mean of the Standard Plate Count (SPC) and thermotolerant coliforms were 9,0 × 10 ⁴ CFU/ml and 1.6 × 10 ² MPN/ml, respectively. Regarding coagulase-positive staphylococci, 36 samples tested positive (52% of total). Neither Salmonella spp. nor Listeria monocytogenes, nor antibiotic or antiparasitic residues were detected in any sample. In conclusion, the buffalo milk used as raw material for dairy products in southern Brazil demonstrated satisfactory physicochemical and microbiological characteristics, in accordance with recent scientific literature.
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Among developed countries, bovine milk production makes a major contribution towards the economy. Elevating consumer demand for functional foods has triggered a niche for non-bovine milk-based products. Mixing milks from different species can be a strategy to increase the consumption of non-bovine milk and enable consumers and dairy companies to benefit from their nutritional and technological advantages. Thus, this review aimed to gather the most important research on yoghurts derived from processing mixtures of milks of different species. We discuss the impact of milk mixtures (i.e., species and milk ratio) on nutritional, physicochemical, sensory, rheological and microbiological properties of yoghurts. More specifically, this paper only highlights studies that have provided a clear comparison between yoghurts processed from a mixture of two milk species and yoghurts processed from a single species of milk. Finally, certain limitations and future trends are discussed, and some recommendations are suggested for future research.
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Background: Water buffalos are the second most widely available milk source in countries around the world. While typical average milk compositions are readily available, information on seasonal variation in chemical composition of buffalo milk is limited -especially in the Northeastern region of the United States. Data collected in this study can be useful for the manufacture of a wide variety of specialty dairy products such as symbiotic buffalo milk yogurt. To analyze functionality, symbiotic low fat buffalo milk yogurt prototypes (plain and blueberry) were developed using a commercial starter containing probiotics. Methods: During a one-year cycle, physicochemical and mineral contents of buffalo milk were analyzed. Prototype yogurts were manufactured commercially and samples of the yogurt prototypes were analyzed for physicochemical and microbiological properties and for the survivability of probiotics during ten weeks of storage.Results: Average contents of total solids, fat, lactose, crude protein, ash, specific gravity, and conjugated linoleic acid in the milk ranged from 16.39-18.48%, 6.57-7.97%, 4.49-4.73%, 4.59-5.37%, 0.91-0.92%, 1.0317-1.0380%, and 4.4-7.6 mg/g fat, respectively. The average mineral contents of calcium, phosphorous, potassium, magnesium, sodium, and zinc in the milk were 1798.89, 1216.76, 843.72, 337.20 and 7.48 mg/kg, respectively, and remained steady throughout the year. The symbiotic low fat buffalo milk yogurts evaluated in this study contained higher amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and calcium than similar yogurts manufactured with cows’ milk. During refrigerated storage, the probiotic Lactobacillus acidophilus was viable (>1×106 CFU/g) for the first two weeks, while Bifidobacterium spp. and Lactobacillus casei remained viable during the entire ten weeks. Reducing the acidity and enhancing the flavor of the yogurts could improve the overall acceptability.Conclusion: The results indicated that the low fat buffalo milk yogurt are a rich source of nutrients and are nutritionally preferable to cows’ milk yogurts. The shelf life analysis indicated it to be a good vehicle for developing symbiotic yogurt.Keywords: Buffalo milk, conjugated linoleic acid, symbiotic yogurt, probiotic survivability, physicochemical properties, acceptability
Heating caused considerable losses of B-vitamins (B1, B2, B6 and folic acid) in buffalo and cow's milks depending upon the severity of heat treatments. Riboflavin was relatively stable to heat. Thiamine, pyridoxine and folic acid were found to be less stable to heat the latter being the most heat labile. Losses of all the vitamins studied were relatively higher in cow's milk than in buffalo milk, except in case of folic acid where the reverse was the trend. These losses were least during pasteurization followed by microwave boiling, conventional boiling and in-bottle sterilization.