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Even though dairy cows produce the highest proportion of the world milk supply (mostly in developed countries), more people drink the milk of goats than drink milk of any other species worldwide. Given the limited availability of cow milk, goat milk and its products are important daily food sources of protein, phosphate and calcium for the people of developing countries. In addition, dairy goat farming is a vital sector of agriculture in developed countries, especially those in the Mediterranean region, such as France, Italy, Spain and Greece. This indicates that goat and sheep dairying is not necessarily synonymous with poverty or an underdeveloped business sector. Goat milk differs from cow or human milk in its higher digestibility, distinct alkalinity, higher buffering capacity and certain therapeutic values in human medicine. Goat milk has smaller fat globules and more friable proteins (with significantly lower αs1- and higher αs2-casein) when acidified, giving better digestibility than cow milk. Goat milk has more short- and medium-chain fatty acids (medium chain triglycerides (MCT)), which have a unique metabolic ability to provide energy for growing children, and are used for treatment of malabsorption patients. Goat milk and its manufactured products including cheeses, yoghurt and powdered products are valued parts of the dairy industry in developed countries, providing connoisseur consumers with diversified and unique tastes, and by supporting people with medical afflictions, such as allergies and gastrointestinal disorders, who need alternative dairy products. Goat milk serves human nutrition in three important ways: (a) home consumption, (b) specialty gourmet interests and
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CAB Reviews:
Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources,
AUTHOR: *Young W. Park , Ph. D.
ADDRESS: Georgia Small Ruminant Research and Extension Center
Fort Valley State University
Fort Valley, GA 31030-4313
Department of Food Science & Technology
The University of Georgia
Athens, GA 30602 USA
Phone: 478-827-3089
FAX: 478-825-6376
Even though dairy cows produce the highest amount of the world milk supply mostly in
developed countries, more people drink the milk of goats than milk of any other species worldwide.
Due to unavailability of cow milk, goat milk and its products are important daily food sources of
protein, phosphate and calcium for the people of developing countries. In addition, dairy goat
farming is a vital sector of agriculture in developed countries especially in the Mediterranean
region such as France, Italy, Spain, and Greece. This may prove that goat and sheep dairying is
not necessarily synonymous with poverty or an underdeveloped business sector. Goat milk differs
from cow or human milk in higher digestibility, distinct alkalinity, higher buffering capacity, and
certain therapeutic values in human medicine. Goat milk has smaller fat globules and more friable
proteins (with significantly lower αs1- and higher αs2-casein) when acidified, giving better
digestibility than cow milk. Goat milk has more short and medium chain fatty acids (MCT), which
have the unique metabolic ability to provide energy in growing children, and are used for
treatment of malabsorption patients. Goat milk and its manufactured products including cheeses,
yoghurt and powdered products are valued parts of the dairy industry in developed countries by
providing connoisseur consumers with diversified and unique tastes, and by supporting people
with medical afflictions, such as allergies and gastro-intestinal disorders, who need alternative
dairy products. Goat milk serves human nutrition in three important ways: (a) home consumption,
(b) specialty gourmet interests, and (c) medical-therapeutic applications.
Keywords: Goat milk, milk products, composition, uniqueness, advantages, human nutrition,
1. Introduction
Although goats produce only about 2% of the world's total milk supply [29], goat milk and
its products have provided humanity with vital lines of nutritional and economic survival and
wellbeing around the world. Production of goat milk is immensely important in underdeveloped
countries, where it provides basic nutrition and subsistence to the majority of their populations
residing in rural areas [99]. In addition, the contribution of goat milk and dairy goat products to the
economy and overall ecosystem of the countries in the Mediterranean and Middle East region is
especially notable [57, 61, 89]. It is also an undeniable fact that, on a worldwide basis, more people
drink milk of goats than milk of any other single animal species [48, 86, 88, 89].
On the other hand, the goat has been the most maligned domesticated animal and still is in
many parts of the world [112], partly because of its sometimes offensive odor, especially from
the buck, whose odor floats strongly around the premises and can affect the flavor of the doe’s
milk [47]. However, recently it has been demonstrated that goat milk properly milked and cooled
is odor free and hard to distinguish from cow milk in odor and taste [10, 47, 81]. Thus the
production of quality goat milk is possible, which has made great progress lately in dismantling
the old prejudice on goat milk by consumers, and this outcome is partially reflected in the
phenomenal increase in dairy goat numbers around the world in recent years [47].
It has been reported that goat milk differs from cow or human milk in higher digestibility,
distinct alkalinity, higher buffering capacity, and certain therapeutic values in human medicine and
nutrition [21, 48, 87, 89, 95, 111, 131]. Because of unavailability of cow milk, goat milk and its
products are important daily food sources of protein, phosphate and calcium for the people of
developing countries [48, 87].
Increased interest in dairy milk and its products is a part of the recent trend in demand and
consumption of health food in developed countries as well as a renewed interest in goat milk as a
substitute for those who suffer from allergies or intolerance against cow milk [13, 86, 89, 122, 125].
Goat milk and dairy goat products including cheeses and yoghurt are also valued parts of the
total dairy industry in developed countries, by providing connoisseur consumers with diversified
and exotic tastes, and by supporting people with medical afflictions, such as allergies and gastro-
intestinal disorders, who need alternative dairy products [40, 42, 43, 88, 90]. Thus, goat milk
serves in a general way three types of markets around the world, such as (a) home consumption,
(b) specialty gourmet interests, and (c) medical needs [99].
The importance of goats as providers of essential food in milk and meat products around
the world has been reported in many recent proceedings of international conferences [9, 38, 41,
45, 79, 114]. The purpose of this paper is to review the uniqueness and importance of goat milk
and milk products on human nutrition around the world.
2. Goat milk production in the world
The tonnage of annual goat milk production is relatively small compared to those of cow
and buffalo milk production world wide (Table 1), which are 2.1, 84.6 and 11.9% of total world
milk supply, respectively [27, 30]. During 1980-2001, the percentage of goat milk production
worldwide has increased in all continents except North and Central America (Table 1). The
importance of goat milk in human nutrition is reflected by the significant increase in actual
tonnage of goat milk production around the world during the same period (Table 1). The total
world tonnage of goat milk during these last two decades has increased much beyond that of
sheep milk production (12.4 million MT vs. 7.8 million MT, respectively, in 2001; Table 1),
while this difference probably reflects also the increased demand for fluid milk consumption of
goat milk, whereas sheep milk is mainly processed into cheeses [47].
This marked tonnage increase in goat milk production for the last two decades was
conspicuously evidenced by the large increases in goat population numbers (Table 2). These
FAO data also show that the respective numbers of goats and people increased by 61 and 38%
for the 20 years (Table 2), but goat milk production actually increased by 72% (Table 1). Within
continents, Asia leads in goat milk production relative to all milk produced (Table 1), in total
annual milk tonnage, in total goat numbers, and in relative increase of goat milk production for
the same period (Table 1 and 2)[27, 30, 47].
These remarkable increases in goat numbers and goat milk production explain the
conviction by dairy experts that more goat milk is consumed by more people around the world
than any other species milk [33, 48, 86, 88, 89]. Goat milk has a great impact on human nutrition
as a main food to sustain poor people and small farmers, to prevent mal- and undernutrition, and
aid people afflicted with cow milk allergies [44, 69, 89]. These important facts have long been
recognized by foreign aid project leaders in developing countries, whereby they have focused
their efforts on improving dairy goat production through breeding, nutrition and management
[45] in order to improve human wellbeing and nutrition in the region.
Although Europe has increased goat numbers by 50% (Table 2), the Mediterranean
region with some 21 countries has decreased by 9% its numbers during the past two decades.
The Mediterranean region is the major sheep milk production area of the world (Table 2 and 3),
but not so for goat milk production, which amounted to 38% of all goat milk tonnage worldwide
in 1980 but only 18% in 2001 for that region (Table 3) [47]. Asia and Africa produced much
more goat milk in total tonnage than the Mediterranean region in 2001. FAO statistics does not
list any goat milk data of North America. Europe has more countries decreasing than increasing
in goat milk tonnage per year (Table 3). This phenomenon implies that there is a general and
historic disinterest in goat milk research, relative to cow milk and sheep research, in these
countries which may be understandable, though not forgivable [47]. Thus the world literature on
goat milk production, product technology and marketing has to depend on such research from
Asia and Africa [47]. In addition, the opportunity of receiving research grants for scientific
investigations on goat milk products in the US also has been very rare and difficult, due mainly
to the modest contribution of dairy goat products to the overall economy of the nation.
3. Economics of goat milk production on regional ecosystem and human wellbeing
As a rule of economic theory, the cost of production per unit of product is decreased by
increasing the numbers of products per production unit. Net income increases with higher level
of milk production (Table 4), because the cost/kg goat milk decreases with higher levels of
production/goat and the economic “break-even” price of goat milk decreases [135]. In
comparison with cow milk pricing, the farm gate price of goat milk for a sustainable farm
operation must be at least 1.5 to 2.5 times higher because of higher labor costs [47]. Dairy goat
herd sizes of at least 120 with lactation yields of 700 kg/doe maybe necessary for a profitable
enterprise in the US. Labor is a major restraint in dairy management of cows and more so of
goats, due to their smaller size and lower volume of milk production per animal. Kapture [59]
showed that the required labor in the production of 100 kg goat milk ranges between 57 to 145
minutes compared to cows requiring only 7 to 31 minutes/100 kg milk production. At $6.00/hour
labor, 100 kg cow milk requires at most $3.10 labor cost compared to $14.50 for the production
of goat milk, which is a difference of 4.7 times, explaining the need for the price difference of
milk between the two species. The total production cost of goat milk has been estimated to be
about $70.00/100 kg compared to a current farm gate price for cow milk at $29.00/100 kg [43,
127], using current US prices for feeds including hay, buck service, veterinary costs, and milking
supplies, minus the gain from sale of kids and the fertilizer value of goat manure, but not
including fixed overhead [47]. However, the production cost of goat or other milks is expected to
increase markedly because of recent substantial increases in gasoline and feed costs due to
biofuel production from corn.
The actual prices received on US dairy goat farms for Grade A - 3.5% fat goat milk
ranged from $26.00 to $97.00/100 kg (the later for direct sales at the farm) [23], compared to
average commercial prices for goat milk in France at the equivalent of $51.00/100 kg, in Italy
$47.00, in Spain $44.00, and in Greece $ 36.00 [55]. The Mediterranean region including these
countries, has the world’s premier countries of successful commercial organization of goat milk,
goat cheese and yoghurt production, but the average milk production levels per doe are much
below those of American dairy goats [99], partly because much pasturing is part of their
management system. Annual average milk yield per doe in France has been at 364 kg, in Spain at
109 kg, in Italy at 104 kg, and in Greece at 73 kg [55].
The total US dairy goat population has been estimated to be about 1 million head with an
estimated 50,000 MT commercial goat milk/year [40, 124]. About 7,000 MT/year have been
processed in the state of Wisconsin. In California, annually around 12,000 MT of goat milk are
manufactured into powder, and an ever growing number of presently at least 100 farmstead
cheese makers produce an increasing number of artisanal goat cheeses, soft and aged, for the
rising US cheese market. Consumption of cheeses in USA, especially specialty cheeses from
goat and sheep milk, has increased from 8 to 14 kg/person/year during the last 20 years [99]. In
addition, more than 500,000 kg goat cheese from France, not counting other countries, was
imported to satisfy the growing US market demand. In France with an annual goat cheese
production of 43,500 MT, of which 30% of the goat cheeses was produced by 19,000 individual
goat farms in 1985 [67].
When cheese production costs were compared among three species, the cost/kg of cheese
for cow, goat and sheep milk were $3.25, $5.23 and $8.02/kg, respectively (Table 5)[133]. These
figures definitely reveal that the production of goat milk cheese is much more expensive,
whereby the price of goat cheese deserves or has to be higher than a cow counterpart, and
production costs of sheep milk cheese are even higher than for goat milk cheese.
In US, about 300 goat breeders have a license for marketing goat milk [99]. A potential
but un-fulfilled goat milk market of 12,000 MT/year is estimated to exist in the USA just for
“bio-medical” reasons of people afflicted with allergies and gastro-intestinal disorders,
calculated from a conservative average need of 1 liter goat milk/1,000 persons/week [40]. French
goat milk is also exported widely into other countries, where potential markets with a deficit
supply exist. In Brazil, 4.5 million liters goat milk are marketed annually generating $12 million,
while a potential market of 12 million liters exists despite the higher retail price compared to cow
milk [129]. In many countries, goat milk is not marketed commercially as fluid milk, but serves
household needs and is supplied to neighbors [113]. However, Taiwan is a notable exception,
where all milk from their 500,000 head dairy goat population under intensive management is
processed by a central cooperative into glass bottles or UHT cartons and commercially marketed
even by door-to-door delivery [80].
4. Basic nutrient compositions of goat milk and products for human nutrition
Caprine milk, on the average, contains 12.2% total solids, consisting of 3.8% fat, 3.5%
protein, 4.1% lactose and 0.8% ash (Table 6), indicating that it has more fat, protein and ash, and
less lactose than cow milk [94]. However, goat milk provides similar level of calories (70
kcal/100ml) for human nutrition as cow or human milk do. A human infant fed solely on goat milk
is oversupplied with protein in relation to calories (Figure 1) [56], and some other minor nutrients
are also oversupplied.
A recent study on the compositions of different commercial goat milk products (Table 7)
[86, 91, 92] revealed that goat milk and goat milk products would be excellent sources of human
nutrition comparable to cow milk products [104]. Compositional differences may be attributable
to differences in sources of original milk used for processing the products, because the nutrient
compositions of goat milk can be greatly influenced by several factors such as season, stage of
lactation, breed, diet, individual animal, and environmental management conditions [48, 86, 95,
118, 126].
5. Uniqueness of goat milk
When animals are pastured, goats spend more time browsing and less time grazing than
cows or sheep, they may walk longer distances, and get along with less frequent water intake
[99]. Compared to cows and sheep, great differences are also found for goats in the metabolism
of minerals, especially molybdenum, copper, iodine, selenium, magnesium, and iron [45]. Goat
milk also has unique differences among the three species milks in several important constituents
and physical parameters, including proteins, lipids, minerals, vitamins, carnitine, glycerol ethers,
orotic acid, enzymes, fat globule size, casein polymorphisms, which are significant in human
nutrition [99]. These quality characteristics of goat milk and its products are related to
physiological, metabolic, nutritional and anatomical differences between the species, and can
justify its higher price.
5.1. Uniqueness of goat milk proteins in human nutrition
Goat milk has five principle proteins, which are β-lactoglobulin (β-Lg), α-lactalbumin (α-
La), κ-casein (κ-CN), β-casein (β-CN), and αs2-casein (αs2-CN) (Table 8) [12, 56, 76, 94]. These
proteins were named after their corresponding proteins of cow milk due to their homologous nature
in composition and properties [134]. Beta-casein is the most abundant protein in goat and human
milks, while αs1 is the major protein in cow milk. Levels of αs-casein are minimal in human milk
(Table 8).
The casein composition in goat milk is influenced by genetic polymorphism on the casein
loci [37, 73, 78, 125]. In most European dairy goat breeds such as Alpine, Saanen, Poitevine,
Garganica, Maltese, Murciana-Granadina, Malaguena, a polymorphism with 7 alleles (A, B1, B2, B3,
C, D, E, F, G, O) was found. In characterization of the 6 caprine s1-CN variants, A, B, C, E, F, and
null type variants were identified, and the “null” type or absence of s1-CN variants had different
digestibility and cheese making properties [107]. These differences in genetic types are attributed to
amino acid substitutions in the protein chains, which in turn are responsible for the differences in
digestibility, cheese making properties and flavors of goat milk products [115]. Peptides formed
from goat milk casein by proteases had much less bitter taste than those from cow milk casein [102].
Amino acid substitutions in protein chains enables detection of small amounts of
adulteration of goat milk with cow milk [4, 46]. Goat milk has a significantly higher dye-binding
capacity per unit protein (1% more than cow milk) and a lower infrared absorption (4% less than
cow milk) [35], which necessitates the use of different calibration curves for each species to
measure milk protein content. This fact was confirmed when testing with cow milk standards
resulted in 0.04% less fat and 0.27% less protein in goat milk [136].
Goat milk also has uniquely different casein structure compared to cow milk. Caseinate
micelles of goat milk contain more calcium and inorganic phosphorus, are less solvated, less heat
stable, and loose β-casein more readily than bovine micelles [56]. Higher mineralization of goat
caseinate would be beneficial for providing a higher source of calcium and phosphate in human
nutrition. The degree of hydration in goat milk is lower, which supports the evidence of an inverse
relationship between the mineralization of the micelle and its hydration [108, 119].
Non-protein nitrogen (NPN) content in goat and human milk is much higher than in cow
milk (Tables 8) [87, 94], which is beneficial to human health and discussed in the next section.
Lactoferrin, transferrin, and prolactin contents of goat milk are comparable to those of cow milk
(Table 8). Human milk contains more than 2 mg lactoferrin/ml, which amounts to be 10-100 fold
higher than in goat milk, giving much higher Fe levels in human milk. Goat and cow milk contain
transferrin levels of 20-200 μg/ml, while human milk contains less than 50 μg/ml. Goat milk has
higher levels of folate-binding protein than cow milk, causing actual folate contents to be lower in
the former than the latter (Table 8). Immunoglobulin IgG types in both goat and cow milks are
much higher than in human milk, where antigen derived from bacteria and viruses introduced via
the teat canal results in higher levels of IgG in the mammary gland [56, 94, 109]. Human milk,
however, contains greater levels of IgA and IgM type immunoglobulins than goat and cow milks
(Table 8). Goat milk contains the IgG’s in greater concentrations than in other ruminants, which
though not tested, could lead to a significant impact on immunity of human infants for those who
take goat milk or its formulae.
Published data of the USDA [104] reveal that the levels of 6 of the 10 essential amino acids
in goat milk are higher than in cow milk, implying that there would be beneficial effects of goat
milk in human nutrition (Table 9), even though the comparative metabolic effects have not been
investigated [46]. In studies with rats having mal-absorption syndromes, Barrionuevo et al. [6]
found that goat milk improved the intestinal absorption of copper, which accounted for higher
contents of cysteine in goat milk (83 mg/100g) than in cow milk (28 mg/100g).
Total amino acid contents in goat and other non-primate milks were substantially greater
than those in human and primate milks (Table 10) [17]. Other commonalities in all species milks
are essential amino acids (EAA) 40%, branch-chain amino acids (BCAA) 20%, and sulfur amino
acids 4% of the total amino acids. The EAA contents of goat and cow milk are greater than those of
human milk, whereas the opposite case is observed for the BCAA contents (Table 10). Goat, cow,
and human milks have a satisfactory balance of EAA equalling or exceeding the FAO-WHO
requirements for each amino acid to human infants [56, 94]. Considering NRC requirements for
dietary protein, goat milk would meet equally or exceed by 0.51 compared to cow milk in the daily
dietary recommendations for adults for essential amino acids [46, 83].
5.2. Uniqueness of goat milk fat in human nutrition
The average size of goat milk fat globules is about 3.5 µm as compared to 4.5 µm for cow
milk fat [26, 121], and for buffalo and sheep milks were 5.92 and 3.30 μm, respectively. Smaller fat
globules of goat milk would make a better dispersion and more homogeneous mixture of milk fat,
and result in a greater surface area of fat for enhanced digestive action by lipases. Considering a
human health point of view, this naturally homogenized goat milk is better for digestion than the
mechanically homogenized cow milk [13, 48].
Goat milk has much higher content in butyric (C4:0), caproic (C6:0), caprylic (C8:0), capric
(C10:0), lauric (C12:0), myristic (C14:0), palmitic (C16:0), linoleic (C18:2), but lower in stearic
(C18:0), and oleic acid (C18:1) than cow milk [104]. Three of the medium chain triglycerides
(MCT; C6-C14) have been named after goats, because they occur predominantly in goat milk [46].
Because of their metabolic and medical advantageous properties, capric, caprylic acids, and other
MCT have been used for treatments of many clinical disorders in infants and adult human patients
[1, 36, 46, 58, 89, 98, 123].
Goat milk has higher monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) than cow milk [104], which may
not be consistent with the data by Holland et al. (1989) (Table 11). Goat milk has similar
polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) but higher MCT than cow milk, which would be beneficial for
human health, especially for cardiovascular diseases [46]. Got milk also has less cholesterol and
saturated fat than cow milk (Table 11). This significant biomedical uniqueness has not been
promoted much in marketing goat milk, goat yoghurt and cheeses, while it has great potential in
justifying the advantage of goat milk in human nutrition and medicine [5, 41, 46].
Cholesterol levels of normal fluid goat, cow, sheep and human milk are 10, 14, 11, 16
mg/100g (Table 11), indicating that goat milk has the lowest cholesterol level among these 4
species milks [56, 104]. Table 11 shows that human milk apparently has the highest cholesterol
level among the 4 species milks, and its colostrum has 31 mg/100g. Powdered cow milk has
substantially more cholesterol (120 mg/100 g) since it is a dried and concentrated product [97].
The low cholesterol in goat milk, though statistically may not be significant, can be beneficial for
human health and nutrition.
Numerous branched-chain fatty acids (BCFA) were identified and quantified, all having
more than 11 carbons [72], and over 20 volatile BCFA were identified in caprine cheese [39].
Caprine milk fat has a range of monomethyl-branched fatty acids, mostly with methyl-substitution
on carbons 4 and 6, which are virtually absent from cow milk with only a trace amount of 6-methyl-
hexadecanoate [2]. A comparatively high number of minor BCFA is found in goat milk and the
trans-C18:1 fatty acid content is significantly lower in goat milk than in cow milk, which also would
be beneficial in human health for treating coronary heart conditions [46].
Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) has gained a great attention in recent years because of its
several beneficial effects on human health, including anticarcinogenic, antiatherogenic, immune
stimulatory, growth promoting, and reducing body fat effects [63, 65, 85, 94]. Manipulations of
feeding regimens of goats toward higher milk contents of beneficial fatty acids such as CLA have
been successfully achieved [14, 77]. Supplementation with vegetable oils, fresh grass feeding and
pasturing of goats showed increases in CLA in goat milk as well as in cow milk.
Few studies have been conducted on goat butter, ghee and related products which have even
higher contents of MCT, unsaturated fatty acids and CLA than the original milk, and also few
commercial products of these types have been developed. There is the great potential to provide
goat milk products with specially beneficial and proven properties for human nutrition and health,
besides its general food value to starving people and to connoisseurs [46].
5.3. Uniqueness of minerals and vitamins of goat milk for human nutrition
Mineral and vitamin contents of goat milk are listed in comparison with those of cow and
human milks in Table 12. Goat milk contains about 134 mg Ca and 121 mg P/100g, while human
milk contents are only one-fourth to one-sixth of these minerals. The levels of major minerals in
milk do not usually fluctuate by diet, but can vary depending on the breed, animal, and stage of
lactation, whereas trace mineral contents of goat milk are usually influenced by diet and other
factors [94, 95, 96, 118, 126].
Goat milk plays an important role in mineral nutrition of people in under-developed
countries, where goat milk is an important daily food source of animal protein, phosphate and
calcium due to lack of availability of cow milk [48, 87, 88]. Percentages of dietary Ca and protein
from animal sources are much smaller in developing countries than developed ones (Table 13).
Goat milk has higher calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and chlorine, and has lower
sodium and sulfur contents than cow milk [13, 95]. There is a close inverse relationship between
lactose content and the molar sum of sodium and potassium contents of goat or other species milks
[60, 95].
Zinc content is the greatest among the trace minerals, and Zn in goat and cow milks are
greater than in human milk [96]. Iron contents of goat and cow milks are significantly lower than in
human milk [56, 96]. However, goat and cow milk contain significantly greater levels of iodine
than human milk, which may be important for human nutrition since iodine and thyroid hormone
are closely related to the metabolic rate of physiological body functions [126]. Goat and human
milk contain higher concentrations of selenium than cow milk [19, 94]. Less than 3% of the total
selenium is associated with the lipid fraction of milk. Glutathione peroxidase (GSH) activity is
higher in goat milk (65%) than in human (29%) and cow milk (27%) [19], where GSH removes
hydrogen peroxides in body tissues, and also closely related to vitamin E activity as an antioxidant,
and selenium prevents liver necrosis, which is important in human nutrition [126].
In light of vitamin contents of goat milk, it has higher amount of vitamin A than cow milk.
Caprine milk is whiter than bovine milk because goats convert all β-carotene into vitamin A in the
milk [94]. Goat milk supplies adequate amounts of vitamin A and niacin, and excesses of thiamin,
riboflavin and pantothenate for a human infant [32, 101]. Figure 1 also illustrates that a human
infant fed solely on goat milk is oversupplied with protein, Ca, P, vitamin A, thiamin, riboflavin,
niacin and pantothenate in relation to the FAO-WHO requirements [56]. Vitamin B levels in goat
and cow milks are a result of rumen synthesis, and are somewhat independent of diet [48, 70]. There
are some deficient vitamins in goat milk which will be discussed in later section.
6. Hypoallergenic and therapeutic values of goat milk in human nutrition and health
Although cow milk allergy (CMA) is a frequent disease in infants, its etiologic
mechanisms are not well understood [51, 89]. Beta-lactoglobulin (MW 36,000) is the major
whey protein of cow milk, not found in human breast milk and responsible for some cow milk
allergy [51, 89]. However, it has been also shown that caseins, β-lactoglobulin, and α-
lactalbumin are major allergens in cow milk [8, 130]. In the U.S. and probably all Western
countries, approximately 7% of children show symptoms of cow milk allergy, even though
almost all children under age 3 have circulating milk antibodies [22, 34, 41, 89, 103].
Clinical symptoms of milk protein allergy or CMA usually develop between 2 and 4
weeks of age and almost always appear within the first six months of life [18, 110]. Sites of milk
allergy are most often involved in the gastrointestinal, respiratory, dermatologic and systemic
local tissues. Symptoms of CMA are manifested as vomiting, diarrhea, colitis, epigastric distress,
malabsorption, eczema, urticaria, rhinitis, asthma, bronchitis, erythema, anaphylaxis,
hyperactivity, migraine, etc. [54, 74, 131]. Frequency of CMA symptoms were reported as
rhinitis (43%), diarrhea (43%), abdominal pain (41%), anaphylaxis (10%), and urticaria (7%)
[74]. Goat milk has been recommended as a substitute for patients who suffer from allergies
against cow milk or other food sources [46, 89, 94, 111, 122, 123, 128, 131]. Between 40 to
100% of patients allergic to cow milk proteins tolerate goat milk [89, 131]. Even if some caprine
milk proteins have immunological crossreactivity with cow milk proteins, infants suffering from
gastrointestinal allergy and chronic enteropathy against cow milk were reportedly cured by goat
milk therapy [31, 89, 94, 128]. Because of this great potential for therapeutic and hypoallergenic
values of goat milk in infants and patients having CMA, goat milk as a substitute for cow milk or
the basis of cow milk-free diet is of great importance for CMA patients, milk consumers and
producers as well as human nutrition in general [98].
Only one in 100 infants who were allergic to cow milk, did not thrive well on goat milk
[131]. This study found that from 1682 allergic migraine patients, 1460 were due to food, 98 due
to inhalants, 98 due to endogenous (bacterial) substances, and 25 due to drugs (including
tobacco). Among the 1460 patients with food allergy, 92% were due to cow milk or dairy
products; 35% wheat; 25% fish; 18% egg; 10% tomato; 9% chocolate. Also some patients were
allergic to more than one food. In more recent French clinical studies over 20 years with cow
milk allergy patients the conclusion was that substitution with goat milk was followed by
“undeniable” improvements [116]. In other French extensive clinical studies with children
allergic to cow milk, 93% of the goat milk treated children produced positive results and goat
milk was recommended as a valuable aid in child nutrition, because of less allergenicity and
better digestibility than cow milk [25, 106].
The various genetic polymorphisms of the different caseins and whey proteins [37] can
add complexity to the cow milk allergy situation and difficulty to determine which protein is
mainly responsible for an allergic reaction. However, this genetic protein diversity may actually
help identify, which protein is the allergen, if genetic polymorphisms of milk proteins are
specifically used for clinical tests [7]. Guinea pigs had allergic reactions to goat milk with s1-
casein, similar to cow milk, which only has this protein polymorph, and which may explain the
commonly found cross-immune reaction between cow milk and some goat milk. However,
guinea pigs fed goat milk without this polymorph but instead with s2-casein showed only in
40% an allergic reaction, which lead to the conclusion that goat milk lacking s1-casein is less
allergenic than other goat milk [46]. This new knowledge could be a challenge and rewarding for
goat breeding programs, especially since selection for or against s1-casein is now practiced in
some countries, due to differences in cheese yield and renneting [78, 107]. Goat milk with the
genetic trait of low or no s1-casein, but instead with s2-casein, has less curd yield, longer
rennet coagulation time, more heat lability, and weaker curd firmness, which also may explain
the benefits in digestibility in the human digestive tract [3, 46].
Goat milk has better buffering capacity than cow milk, which is good for the treatment of
ulcers [48, 87, 89]. Proteins, primarily casein and phosphate systems in milk, influence its
buffering capacity (BC) [132]. In a comparative study, the milk of Nubian goat breed had a
higher BC than that of Alpine breed, due to the differences in milk composition, and similar
results were observed for Jersey cows over Holstein cows (Table 14) [87]. Major buffering
entities of milks were influenced by species and breeds within species, and Nubian goat milk had
highest levels of total N, protein, non-protein N (NPN) and phosphate (P2O5) among the 4 breeds
of goat and cow milks (Table 14). Regardless of breed, goat milk contained significantly higher
NPN than cow milk, and the higher levels of nitrogen moieties and phosphate in goat milk
resulted in higher BC [87]. Soy-based infant formulae contained less total N and NPN compared
to natural goat and cow milks, suggesting that higher BC in goat milk among the tested milks
would have a therapeutic importance in human health.
Goat milk contains high amounts of short and medium chain fatty acids (MCT) which have
been therapeutically used for treatment of various malabsorption syndromes including steatorrhea,
chyluria, hyperlipoproteinemia, intestinal resection, coronary bypass, childhood epilepsy, premature
infant feeding, cystic fibrosis and gallstones [36, 41, 89, 123]. These MCT also have therapeutic
effects on cholesterol metabolism such as hypocholesterolemic action on inhibition of cholesterol
deposition and dissolution of cholesterol in gallstones [36, 41, 58, 98, 123].
Goat milk products also have therapeutic values in human nutrition. Various indigenous
cultured goat milk products including yoghurt are produced and consumed in many countries in
goat producing regions. The greater nutritional value of these products is attributable to the
increased production or availability of certain nutrients and to the prehydrolysis of the major
milk constituents by lactic starter cultures, rendering them more digestible [20, 64, 82]. Yogurt
and other cultured products have been used as therapeutic agents. Their most common uses
have been in gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, infantile gastroenteritis and constipation
[20, 82]. Yogurt was also shown to have greater hypocholesterolemic effect than milk because
the former contains hydroxymethyl glutarate which inhibits cholesterol synthesis from acetate
[71]. Calcium, orotic acid, lactose and casein have all been suggested as possible
hypocholesterolemic factors [20, 53].
These aforementioned hypoallergenic and therapeutic properties of goat milk and
products are of great importance in human health and nutrition, where this premise has been
continuous keen interest to goat milk producers and consumers, especially in developed
countries [46, 89, 98].
7. Advantages of goat milk in human nutrition
Goat milk fat contains significantly greater contents of short and medium chain length
fatty acids (C4:0-C12:0) than the cow counterpart [5, 41, 57, 58, 98]. The smaller fat globule size
of goat milk has better digestibility compared to cow milk counterparts [13, 48, 121]. Goat milk
proteins are reportedly digested more readily and their amino acids absorbed more efficiently
than those of cow milk. Goat milk forms a softer, more friable curd when acidified, which is
related to lower contents of αs1-casein in the milk [13, 56, 89, 98], whereby the more friable
curds of goat milk are attacked more rapidly by stomach proteases.
In addition to remedial values to milk allergic infants and patients, goat milk also exhibits
higher nutrient bioavailability. In a nutrition trial involving 38 children (20 girls and 18 boys) aged 6
to 13 years, Mack [69] fed one-half of them 0.946 liter of goat milk and the other half 0.946 liter of
cow milk daily for 5 months. She observed that children in the goat milk group surpassed those on
cow milk in weight gain, statue, skeletal mineralization, bone density, blood plasma vitamin A,
calcium, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin and hemoglobin concentrations. Statistical differences were not
significant for certain tested parameters such as blood hemoglobin, other biochemical and structural
measurements between the two groups.
Most milks, including human milk, are deficient in iron contents (Table 12). In an iron
bioavailability study of goat and cow milks using anemic rats, Park et al. [100] reported that rats fed
on goat milk grew significantly better, had higher liver weights, hemoglobin iron gain, and higher
iron absorption rates than those on cow milk. The anemic rats receiving the whole goat milk diet
showed significantly greater hemoglobin regeneration efficiencies than those on the cow milk diet.
In a comparative iron and copper absorption study using Albino Wistar rats, it was shown that the
apparent digestibility coefficient of copper was highest (P<0.001) with the goat milk diet, followed
by the standard diet and lowest with cow milk diet [11]. The same study showed that copper
deposits were higher in kidney, liver, sternum (P<0.001) and spleen (P<0.05), when the rats
consumed a goat milk diet than when they were given a cow milk diet. Iron contents in liver and
spleen were also higher with the standard and goat milk diets than with cow milk diet.
In recent comparative absorption studies with rats in Spain [6], 50% of the animals’
distal small intestines were removed by resection to simulate the pathological condition of
malabsorption syndrome, and goat milk was fed instead of cow milk as part of the diet. The
results showed the goat milk fed animals had significantly higher digestibility and absorption of
iron and copper than cow milk fed group, and anemia was prevented in goat milk fed group.
Also in these studies, the utilization of fat and weight gain was improved with goat milk in the
diet, compared to cow milk, and levels of cholesterol were reduced, while triglyceride, HDL,
GOT and GPT values remained normal [1]. It was concluded that the consumption of goat milk
reduces total cholesterol levels and the LDL fraction, because of the higher presence of medium-
chain triglycerides (MCT) (36% in goat milk vs. 21% in cow milk), which decreases the
synthesis of endogenous cholesterol. In an Algerian study of 64 infants with malabsorption
syndromes, the substitution of cow milk with goat milk also caused significantly higher rates of
intestinal fat absorption [49].
In another comparative nutritional study with malnourished children in Madagascar, 30
hospitalized undernourished children between 1 and 5 years of age were fed either cow or goat
milk in addition to their regular diet [105]. In Madagascar, malnutrition is frequent among
children and cow milk is not affordable or available in sufficient quantities, while goat milk is
cheaper to produce and more readily available. The study resulted in the children fed on goat
milk outgained the children on cow milk in bodyweight by 9% daily (8.53g/kg/day 1.37 vs.
7.82 1.93) over the 2-week trial period, and fat absorption tended to be better in the goat milk
children. Therefore, goat milk has an apparent advantage over cow milk and can be
recommended as a vital and useful alternative to cow milk for rehabilitating undernourished
children in developing countries.
8. Importance of goat milk products in human nutrition
Contribution of goat milk products to human nutrition and wellbeing is equally important
as that of fluid goat milk. Among caprine milk products, cheese is traditionally by far the most
important and largest volume produced and consumed product. France has offered the best in
goat milk cheeses, many of which are surface-ripened. France produces many exotic types of
goat cheeses, including Crottin du Chavignol, Les Pyramides, Sainte Maure, Chabis and
Chabicou [61]. Other successful goat milk cheese producing countries are Norway, Spain,
Greece, Portugal, Italy and USA [97, 98]. The Agricultural Handbook No. 54 of the USDA [117]
describes over 400 varieties of goat cheeses and lists over 800 names of cheeses made from goat
milk or combinations of goat with other species milk such as cow, ewe, or buffalo [86].
Yoghurt would be the next to cheese manufactured from goat milk, and consumed
relatively large quantities around the world. Goat milk yogurt can be made in a similar manner to
the cow counterpart. One of the main problems in manufacture of goat milk yogurt is weak and
lack of consistency in curd tension or viscosity upon agitation compared with cow yogurt. This is
due to the difference in protein composition between the two milks, especially in casein contents
[97]. Yoghurt has been traditionally used as a therapeutic agent.
There are many other fermented goat milk products produced and consumed, including
buttermilk, acidophilus, sour dip and kefir. Ghee and butter-like products are also produced and
consumed. Ghee is an Indian (and Middle East) clarified butterfat product which is manufactured
by fermenting whole milk into curd and churning out butter, followed by heat clarification at
105-145oC [97]. Sweet products made of goat milk are also popular in Mexico, Norway and
India. In Mexico, the Caheta is a thick liquid of caramelized milk with sugar added, which is
popular and sold as such or dried as small tarts. In Latin American countries, other sweets made
of goat milk called dulces” are produced in a similar way.
Significant amounts of evaporated and powdered goat milk products are manufactured in
U.S. and New Zealand, marketed around the world, but very little research data and reports are
available on these products [93]. Frozen goat milk products such as ice cream was manufactured
in Georgia and Texas. However, only research data from the University of Georgia have been
reported [68]. Recently cosmetic products made from goat milk such as goat milk soap, hand
lotion, etc., have been increasingly popular. These products are commercially produced in the
U.S. and other countries like Switzerland. An internet search on goat milk soap shows a list of
more than 5,000 references [97].The number of home-based goat milk soap businesses has been
tremendously increased in recent years, and now estimated to generate multi-million dollars of
annual revenues around the world. The production and consumption of these dairy goat products
shows the impact of goat milk and products in human nutrition and wellbeing.
9. Some nutritional concerns on goat milk in human nutrition
Although goat milk has undeniable positive impact on human nutrition and wellbeing
around the world especially in developing countries, it is not a completely care-free perfect food for
all human beings. Goat milk has deficiencies in certain vitamins, such as folic acid and vitamin B12,
which are significantly lower than in cow milk [15, 16, 56, 100]. In fact, cow milk has 5 times more
folate and vitamin B12 than goat milk, where folate is necessary for the synthesis of hemoglobin [15,
16]. Vitamin B12 deficiency has been reportedly implicated in “goat milk anemia” which is a
megaloblastic anemia in infants [101]. However, the major cause of the anemia has been accounted
for the folate deficiency in goat milk. Both goat and cow milks are equally deficient in pyridoxine
(B6), vitamin C and vitamin D, where these vitamins must be supplemented from other food sources
For preservation of vitamins during heat processing, the high temperature and short-time
pasteurization of goat milk was shown to be the best processing method to preserve various
vitamins as well as extend the shelf-life of the milk [62]. Losses of thiamine, riboflavin and vitamin
C were reduced if the milk was processed by HTST, flash and UHT process than by LTLT and
autoclave treatment methods [62].
Some goat milk proteins have immunological cross-reactivity with cow milk proteins, but
there seems no major cross reactivity between the caseins of the two species [66, 75]. Although
insignificant in numbers, goat milk protein allergy can occur in certain limited cases. Much of the
work with goat milk has been undertaken in France. Orlando et al. [84] observed biochemical
results from one male patient who suffered a severe anaphylactoid reaction after eating goat milk
cheese, and suggested that goat and sheep milk allergy can be present without cow milk allergy.
Spuergin et al. [120], comparing cow, goat and sheep milks in their study, also suggested that the
milks of goat and sheep can harbor an allergic potential and may not be suitable for the nutrition of
certain cases of cow milk allergic patients. However, milk allergies have also been reported from
consuming milk of donkeys and mares, which supposedly were considered alternatives to cow milk.
Camel milk seems to be safe probably due to the absence of β-lactoglobulin. In addition, even
allergies to soy milk have been reported [24, 98].
Goat milk and its products are important sources of nutrition and economic wellbeing of
humanity in many parts of the world. Production of goat milk is very important in developing
countries, where it provides basic nutrition and subsistence to the rural people, who are the
majority of their populations. In addition, dairy goat products including fluid milk, cheeses and
yoghurt are also valued parts of the total dairy industry in developed countries, by providing
connoisseur consumers with diversified and exotic tastes, and by supporting people with medical
afflictions, such as allergies and gastro-intestinal disorders, who need alternative dairy products.
The FAO yearbook indicates that dairy goat and also dairy sheep farming is very important for
the national economy of many countries, especially in the Mediterranean region.
Goat milk has highly important nutritional, therapeutic and medical values in human
nutrition. Further clinical and nutritional trials on human subjects would be greatly needed to
substantiate and confirm the reported hypoallergenic and therapeutic significance of goat milk in
human nutrition and health. However, traditionally, the basic and clinical research for goat milk
has been seldom supported by the government, academia and industry in most developed
countries including the US. This phenomenon implies that there appears to be a general and
historic disinterest in goat milk research, relative to cow milk and sheep research, which may not
be desirable for the advancement of scientific understanding of goat milk and it products in
human nutrition and wellbeing.
The author wishes to thank Dr. George F.W. Haenlein for his valuable comments and
suggestions on the contents of this review.
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Table 1. Total milk production by species in the period of 1980-2001 and relative
proportion for each continent within speciesa,b,c
Year 1980 2001 Change, % World, % World, %
1,000 MT 1,000 MT 2001 - 1980 1980 2001
World 7,236 12,455 + 72 100 100
Africa 1,477 2,773 + 88 20 22
N.C.America 318 165 - 48 4 1
S.America 134 182 + 36 2 1
Asia 3,435 7,017 + 104 48 56
Europe 1,569 2,317 + 48 22 19
World 7,980 7,808 - 2 100 100
Africa 994 1,648 + 66 12 21
S.America 34 35 + 3 0.4 0.4
Asia 3,396 3,269 - 4 42 42
Europe 3,482 2,856 - 18 44 37
Mediterranean 4,289 4,523 + 5 54 58
World 27,491 69,248 + 152 100 100
Africa 1,248 2,051 + 164 4 3
Asia 26,148 67,028 + 156 95 97
Europe 96 170 + 77 0.3 0.2
World 423,034 493,828 + 17 100 100
Africa 10,477 18,645 + 78 2 4
N. C.America 76,540 96,638 + 26 18 20
S. America 23,935 47,055 + 97 6 10
Asia 33,084 96,674 + 192 8 20
Europe 176,200 210,193 + 19 42 43
Oceania 12,240 24,623 + 101 3 5
World 465,741 583,339 + 25 100 100
Africa 14,196 25,117 + 77 3 4
N.C.America 76,858 96,803 + 26 16 17
S.America 24,103 47,272 + 96 5 8
Asia 66,063 173,988 + 163 14 30
Europe 181,347 215,536 + 19 39 37
Oceania 12,240 24,623 + 101 3 4
aFAO (1986)
bFAO (2002); Haenlein (2006)c
dOceania no data; eN.and C. America, and Oceania no data;
fAmericas and Oceania no data
Table 2. Trends of populations of goats and people during the last 20 years
1980 2001 Change, %
2001 - 1980
GOATS (Million head)
World 458 738 + 61
Africa 149 219 + 47
N.C.America 13 14 + 8
S.America 19 22 + 16
Asia 258 465 + 80
Europe 12 18 + 50
Mediterranean region 44 40 - 9
Oceania 0.4 0.7 + 75
PEOPLE (Million head)
World 4,450 6,134 + 38
Africa 480 812 + 69
N.C. America 373 493 + 32
S. America 240 351 + 46
Asia 2,584 3,721 + 44
Europe 484 726 + 50
Oceania 23 31 + 35
aFAO (1986)
bFAO (2002)
cHaenlein (2006)
Table 3. Mediterranean region goat populations, goat milk production and trends during
the last 20 yearsa,b,c
_______________________________ _______________________
1980 2001 Change, 1980 2001 Change,
1,000 head 1,000 head % 1,000 1,000 %
2001-1980 MT MT 2001-1980
Portugal 747 760 + 2 37 35 - 6
Spain 2,120 2,830 + 33 302 320 + 6
France 1,065 1,200 + 13 464 460 - 1
Italy 989 1,375 + 39 118 140 + 19
Malta 6 9 + 50 2 - -
Cyprus 360 379 + 5 37 29 - 22
Yugoslavia 125 343 + 174 - - -
Albania 672 1,120 + 67 27 80 + 196
Hungary 120 150 + 25 4 10 + 150
Romania 378 574 + 52 - - -
Bulgaria 425 970 + 128 60 215 + 258
Greece 4,555 5,300 + 16 425 450 + 6
Turkey 18,755 8,057 - 57 623 225 - 64
Lebanon 413 445 + 8 35 39 + 11
Israel 132 68 - 48 24 13 - 46
Syria 1,028 979 - 5 74 62 - 16
Egypt 1,451 3,527 + 143 8 15 + 88
Tunisia 822 1,450 + 76 13 12 - 8
Libya 1,400 1,950 + 39 15 15 +/- 0
Algeria 2,763 3,500 + 27 134 155 + 16
Morocco 5,773 5,200 - 10 27 35 + 30
21 Total 44,099 40,186 - 9 2,429 2,310 - 6
World 457,660 738,246 + 61 7,236 12,455 + 72
21 Mediterranean,
% of world 10 5 34 18
aFAO (1986)
bFAO (2002)
cHaenlein (2006)
Table 4. Comparative profitability of 2 systems of goat farming.
GREECE a Intensive farming Extensive farming
Gross return/goat/year, $ 134.94 66.24
Expenses/goat/year, $ 110.89 58.69
Labor, % 39.1 51.8
Feed, % 42.8 31.6
Capital, % 12.2 13.4
Housing, % 4.4 2.1
Others, % 1.5 1.1
Net return/goat/year, $ 24.05 7.55
FRANCE b Milk sold from farm Cheese sold from milk
_____________________________________________on farm____________
Milk production/goat/year, kg 553 461
Price/kg milk, $ 0.40 0.94
Gross return/goat, $ 243.83 584.00
Production cost/goat/year, $ 118.17 190.83
Net return/goat/year, $ 125.66 393.17
Net return/goat/year, $ 74.93 112.00
USA d,e Average herd Break-even
production, kg price/kg milk
680 0.52
907 0.39
aHatziminaoglou et al. (1995)
bLe Jaouen and de Simiane (1986)
cRubino and Haenlein (1997)
dHaenlein (1998)
eYazman (1980)
Table 5. Economics of cheese making from three different species milksa
Cow Goat Sheep
Farm milk cost, US $/100 kg 28.05 48.40 143.00
Cheese making cost/100 kg milk 7.70 7.70 7.70
Total cost, US $ 33.59 56.10 150.70
Cheese yield, kg/10 kg milk 10.34 10.72 18.79
Cost/kg of cheese 3.25 5.23 8.02
aWendorff (1995).
Making Cheddar cheese; cow milk with 3.95% fat, 3.33% protein; goat milk 3.9%
fat, 3.3% protein; sheep milk 6.9% fat, 5.7% protein.
Table 6. Comparison of average composition of basic nutrients
among goat, cow and human milk
Composition Goat Cow Human__________
Fat, % 3.8 3.6 4.0
Solid-not-fat, % 8.9 9.0 8.9
Lactose, % 4.1 4.7 6.9
Protein, % 3.4 3.2 1.2
Casein, % 2.4 2.6 0.4
Albumin, globulin, % 0.6 0.6 0.7
Non-protein N, % 0.4 0.2 0.1
Ash, % 0.8 0.7 0.3
Calories/100 ml 70 69 68_____________
Data from Posati and Orr (1976), Jenness (1980)
Haenlein and Caccese (1984), and Park (2006).
Table 7. Basic nutrient contents (%) of commercial U.S. goat milk products (wet basis).
Goat Milk
Fluid Milk
Recent Studya
11.3 0.05
2.92 0.09
3.40 0.10
4.15 0.13
13.0 0.15
3.56 0.03
4.14 0.05
4.45 -
Evaporated Milk
Recent Studya
20.85 0.05
6.11 0.33
6.75 0.05
6.56 0.53
25.86 0.08
6.81 0.03
7.56 0.01
10.04 -
Powdered Milk
Recent Studya
94.1 0.56
27.0 0.45
28.2 1.35
32.0 0.33
97.5 0.13
26.3 0.18
26.9 0.25
38.4 -
11.5 2.56
17.7 2.34
3.99 0.12
3.37 0.13
2.25 0.13
1.18 0.17
4.49 0.56
12.6 2.72
40.2 6.81
40.9 2.11
18.9 5.26
17.3 2.26
22.5 4.37
21.8 2.13
- -
- -
58.3 1.76
74.1 1.62
30.3 0.56
20.2 0.35
26.6 1.13
31.8 1.06
1.40 -
- -
aMeans of eight fluid milk (2 brands, 4 different lots), twelve evaporated milk (2 brands 6
different lots), and ten powdered milk (2 brands, 5 different lots) samples, respectively. Data
from Park (1999).
bData for fluid goat milk (Posati and Orr, 1976).
cEvaporated canned milk (Posati and Orr, 1976).
dPowdered whole milk canned (Posati and Orr, 1976).
ePark (1994c).
fPark (1990).
X = Mean; SD = Standard deviation.
Table 8. Comparison of concentrations of protein moieties among goat, cow and human milks.
Protein (%)
Total casein (g/100ml)
αs1 (% of total casein)
αs2 (% of total casein)
β (% of total casein)
κ (% of total casein)
Whey protein (%) (albumin and globulin)
Nonprotein N (%)
Lactoferrin (μg/ml)
Transferrin (μg/ml)
Prolactin (μg/ml)
Folate-binding protein (μg/ml)
IgA (milk:μg/ml)
IgA (colostrum:mg/ml)
IgM (milk:μg/ml)
IgM (colostrum:mg/ml)
IgG (milk:μg/ml)
IgG (colostrum:mg/ml)
Lysozyme (μg/100ml)
Ribonuclease (μg/100ml)
Xanthine Oxidase (μl O2/h/ml)
Data from Chandan et al. (1992), Jenness (1980), Renner et al. (1989), Remeuf and Lenoir (1986),
and Park (2006).
Table 9. Average amino acid composition (g/100 g milk) in proteins of goat and cow milka,b
Goat milk Cow milk Difference (%)
for goat milk_________
Essential amino acids
Tryptophan 0.044 0.046
Threonine 0.163 0.149 +9
Isoleucine 0.207 0.199 +4
Leucine 0.314 0.322
Lysine 0.290 0.261 +11
Methionine 0.080 0.083
Cystine 0.046 0.030 +53
Phenylalanine 0.155 0.159
Tyrosine 0.179 0.159 +13
Valine 0.240 0.220 +9
Non-essential amino acids
Arginine 0.119 0.119
Histidine 0.089 0.089
Alanine 0.118 0.113
Aspartic acid 0.210 0.250
Glutamic acid 0.626 0.689
Glycine 0.050 0.070
Proline 0.368 0.319
Serine 0.181 0.179
aPosati and Orr (1976)
bArranged by Haenlein (2004)
Table 10. Total essential amino acids (EAA) and total branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) in
primate and nonprimate milks1,2.
Total Amino Acids
g/L whole milk
mg amino acid/g
----- total amino acid -----
1Values are means + SD calculated from the sum of individual essential amino acids or branched-
chain amino acids (in mg) divided by the total amino acids (in g, excluding tryptophan).
2Branched-chain amino acids differed in primates vs. nonprimates (P < 0.001) and in humans and
great apes vs. lower primates (P < 0.001).
Adapted from Davis et al. (1994).
Table 11. Cholesterol and Fatty Acid composition of Different Species Milksa,b
Species _____ Fatty Acids (g/100g) Cholesterol
Saturated Monounsat’d Polyunsat’d (mg/100g)
Cow milk
Whole 2.4 1.1 (0.96)c 0.1 14
Skim 0.1 Tr Tr 2
Dried whole 16.5 7.6 0.8 120
Goat milk 2.3 0.8 (1.11)c 0.1 10
Sheep milk 3.8 1.5 0.3 11
Human milk
Colostrum 1.1 1.1 0.3 31
Mature 1.8 1.6 0.5 16
Soya milk 0.3 0.4 1.1 0
aDate taken and organized from Holland et al. (1989).
bPark and Guo (2006).
cUSDA Handbook No. 8-1 (Posati and Orr, 1976).
Table 12. Mineral and vitamin contents of goat, cow and human milks.
------------------------ Amount in 100 g -------------------------
Ca (mg)
P (mg)
Mg (mg)
K (mg)
Na (mg)
Cl (mg)
S (mg)
Fe (mg)
Cu (mg)
Mn (mg)
Zn (mg)
I (mg)
Se (μg)
Vitamin A (I.U.)
Vitamin D (I.U.)
Thiamine (mg)
Riboflavin (mg)
Niacin (mg)
Pantothenic acid (mg)
Vitamin B6 (mg)
Folic acid (μg)
Biotin (μg)
Vitamin B12 (μg)
Vitamin C (mg)
Data from Posati and Orr (1976); Jenness (1980); Haenlein and Caccese (1984); Debski et al.
(1987); Park and Chukwu (1988, 1989); Park (2006).
Table 13. Average daily supply of calcium and protein per person (FAO, 1995) in
relation to Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA, 800 mg for calcium and
60 g for animal protein; NRC, 1968)
Total supply From animal sources
mg mg % of RDA
Africa 384 132 16
Asia 329 125 16
Europe 896 684 86
N + C America 832 569 71
S America 490 317 40
Africa 56 12 20
Asia 64 16 27
Europe 101 58 97
N + C America 97 56 93
S America 67 31 52
(Park and Haenlein, 2007)
Table 14. Concentration of total N, NPN, and phosphate in natural goat and cow milk
and soy-based infant formulas1.
Milk Group
Total N
Goat Milk
Cow Milk
Formula Milk
Brand A
Brand B
a,b,c,dMeans with different superscripts within a same column are significantly different
(P < .01).
1Expressed in grams per 100 ml.
2Number of determinations per mean value.
Park (1991).
Figure 1. Nutrients in goat milk in relation to requirements
of human infants (Adapted from Jenness, 1980).
... The criteria are premium, good and standard and the criteria consist of total count (cfu/mL), somatic cells (cell/mL), protein (%), fat (%) and total solid (%). Review by Chauhan et al. (2021), and Park (2007), explained that goat's milk composition includes 3.8% fat, 3.4% protein, 4.1% lactose, 0.8% minerals, 8.9% total solid non-fat, and 87% water with a pH between 6.5-6.9. Until now, there have been no reports about goat's milk quality in correlation with goat bread in Lumajang and Malang District. ...
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... Diet energy levels and temperature affect the size of the fat milk globule in dairy goats Costa et al. 2 Although the apparent milk is a homogeneous liquid, structurally, it is a very complex mixture of components (water, fat, vitamin, lactose, among others) (Park, 2007). Milk fat is mainly composed of triglycerides and sterols. ...
ABSTRACT The study aimed to verify the effect of diet and environmental temperature on traits of milk fat globules (MFG) of goats. The experiment was conducted in climatic chambers, where we housed 12 Alpine goats with a mean age of 4.02±1.78 years, live weight of 41.8±4.59 kg, and average milk production of 2.16±0.59 kg. The animals were subjected to two different controlled temperatures, T1 = 26 ℃ (thermoneutral) and T2 = 34 ℃ (stress), and diets with different energy levels (low, medium, and high). A milk sample of each animal was collected at 6.00 h, coinciding with milking. The effect of temperature and diet was verified on MFG. The highest MFG was observed at 26 ℃ and medium energy diet. The MFG reached lower values with the diet of medium energy and high temperature (34 ℃). On average, 35% of MFG is smaller than 2 μm, 50% is medium in size (2-5 μm), and 15% is large (>5 μm), with a maximum size of 9.57 μm. The higher prevalence of medium-sized MFG is indicative of excellent milk digestibility. The increase in dietary energy levels promoted both the fat and diameter of fat globules. The higher fat and the larger globules would positively affect the cheese-making aptitude and make it suitable for production of hard cheeses. The increase in dietary energy levels for goats promotes an increase in the diameter of fat globules and milk fat (%), essential traits to the cheese industry.
... The other important trait that is considered for selection are the mothering ability of the Does and their lactal yield (Abraham et al., 2017). Does with good lactal yield are expected to nurse strong and healthy kids (Gemiyu, 2009), besides goat milk are also an important part of the diets of the people residing in many parts of the country (Park, 2007). The importance's of coat color as a selection criteria have already been discussed ahead. ...
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The aim of this study was to describe goat production system in two districts of Sidama zone of southern Ethiopia using two production systems. Semi-structured questionnaire was developed and employed to gather information regarding the management activities, purpose of keeping goats and selection criteria of farmers to select breeding animals. A total of 240 households were interviewed to collect relevant information for the study. Data collected from questionnaire was statistically analyzed and summarized into descriptive statistics. Indexes was calculated to clarify rankings by using indexes formula. The number goat population is more in Loka Abaya than Aroresa. The primary purpose of keeping goats study area are mainly for their milk, meat and income generation. The reproductive potential of Does reared in the Aroresa district was lower. Broad shoulders, compact frame and short and thick necks of the Bucks were considered as the most important characteristics for selection. Communal grazing and crop aftermath were the most common feed sources reported by farmers in the study area. River was the major water source for goats in the study districts. The major factors limiting the productivity of goats are feed shortage, diseases, labour shortage and lack of improved goat breeds.
... Riboflavin is a component of flavin mononucleotide (FMN) and flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), two coenzymes that are involved in metabolic pathways such as energy production and cell metabolism. The content of riboflavin in cow's milk is 160-170 µg/100 g, whereas in human milk it is 20 µg/100 g, which is significantly lower [75,76,90]. Riboflavin is a hydrophilic vitamin, and 67% of the total content is in the whey fraction. ...
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Milk lipids are composed of milk fat globules (MFGs) surrounded by the milk fat globule membrane (MFGM). MFGM protects MFGs from coalescence and enzymatic degradation. The milk lipid fraction is a “natural solvent” for macronutrients such as phospholipids, proteins and cholesterol, and micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins. The research focused largely on the polar lipids of MFGM, given their wide bioactive properties. In this review we discussed (i) the composition of MFGM proteome and its variations among species and phases of lactation and (ii) the micronutrient content of human and cow’s milk lipid fraction. The major MFGM proteins are shared among species, but the molecular function and protein expression of MFGM proteins vary among species and phases of lactation. The main minerals in the milk lipid fraction are iron, zinc, copper and calcium, whereas the major vitamins are vitamin A, β-carotene, riboflavin and α-tocopherol. The update and the combination of this knowledge could lead to the exploitation of the MFGM proteome and the milk lipid fraction at nutritional, biological or technological levels. An example is the design of innovative and value-added products, such as MFGM-supplemented infant formulas.
... Exceptions were asparagine and glutamate (whose concentrations remained at initial levels) and aspartate (which was rapidly consumed in the first few hours and thereafter remained undetectable). The concentration profiles of free aspartate and glutamate are lower than their share in the milk protein 35,36 , and were also predicted by genome-scale metabolic modelling to be substantially consumed by kefir species (Extended Data Fig. 2). Aspartate and glutamate thus stand out as key requirements of kefir species. ...
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Microbial communities often undergo intricate compositional changes yet also maintain stable coexistence of diverse species. The mechanisms underlying long-term coexistence remain unclear as system-wide studies have been largely limited to engineered communities, ex situ adapted cultures or synthetic assemblies. Here, we show how kefir, a natural milk-fermenting community of prokaryotes (predominantly lactic and acetic acid bacteria) and yeasts (family Saccharomycetaceae), realizes stable coexistence through spatiotemporal orchestration of species and metabolite dynamics. During milk fermentation, kefir grains (a polysaccharide matrix synthesized by kefir microorganisms) grow in mass but remain unchanged in composition. In contrast, the milk is colonized in a sequential manner in which early members open the niche for the followers by making available metabolites such as amino acids and lactate. Through metabolomics, transcriptomics and large-scale mapping of inter-species interactions, we show how microorganisms poorly suited for milk survive in—and even dominate—the community, through metabolic cooperation and uneven partitioning between grain and milk. Overall, our findings reveal how inter-species interactions partitioned in space and time lead to stable coexistence.
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The popularity of plant-based milk has been increasing over the last few years to substitute animal milk. Cereal such as black rice ( Oryza sativa L.) is a plant material that can be used to produce rice milk. Black rice has been reported to have high vitamin and mineral content and high fiber. Previous research also has shown the functionality of black rice, such as antioxidant, antihypertensive, and antihyperlipidemic. For this reason, black rice has the potency to be further processed into functional food such as rice milk. However, there is still a lack of basic information about the nutritional profile of black rice milk. Therefore, this research aimed to examine the fatty acids and amino acids profile of black rice milk. Fatty acid analysis was carried out using GC-FID. Amino acid content was analyzed using UPLC. The fatty acid profile analysis revealed that polyunsaturated fatty acid was the most abundant (0.1062%) in black rice milk, followed by saturated fatty acid (0.062%). The highest amino acid found in black rice milk was glutamic acid (0.0045 g/100 mL), aspartic acid (0.00269 g/100 mL), and arginine (0.0228 g/100 mL)
Background Dairy products from a range of species, including caprine products, have been labelled as A2. Yet these simple terms do not accurately capture the complexity of casein protein sequences or properties, particularly when used to describe non-bovine proteins. Scope and approach This review examines the current state of knowledge of the beta casein (β-CN) proteins in caprine and bovine milk. It explores differences in the naming, sequence and function of caprine and bovine β-CN proteins and questions whether caprine milk can be considered ‘A2’ or ‘A2-like’. Key findings and conclusions None of the twelve caprine β-CN alleles or proteins have been scientifically named ‘A2’ to date and the caprine β-CN silent allele A1 differs in sequence to bovine β-CN A1. While the bovine β-CN proteins A1 and A2 differ by one amino acid at position 67 (histidine in A1 and proline in A2), all caprine β-CN proteins have proline at this position. These caprine proteins could be considered ‘A2-like’ based on this criterion alone but there are several other differences in sequence within and outside the β-casomorphin-7 (BCM-7) region that differentiate caprine β-CN proteins from bovine β-CN proteins. These sequence differences in caprine β-CN protein sequence may affect functional properties or the physiological effects of β-casomorphins (BCMs) potentially generated during consumption although there is little information from studies performed to date. Given the current state of understanding of caprine β-CN proteins, it appears inappropriate to label caprine dairy products as ‘A2-like’. These knowledge gaps offer promising areas for future research that could provide new insights into the differences between caprine and bovine animals and their milk and dairy products including the bioactivity, functionality and digestibility of different proteins.
The systemic and local immune responses and intestinal barrier function were examined in orally or parenterally milk-sensitized guinea-pigs. Both types of sensitization led to positive passive cutaneous anaphylactic responses and high IgG titers against β-lactoglobulin (β-lg) especially in parenterally immunized animals. In Ussing chambers, sensitized jejunum had higher short-circuit current (Isc) than control jejunum, with and without β-lactoglobulin challenge. The further increase in Isc induced by serosal β-lg treatment was higher in parenterally (23.2 ± 3.4 μA/cm²) than orally (10.9 ± 2.9 μA/cm²) sensitized animals. Barrier function was tested as the intestinal transport and degradation of Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in the presence and absence of β-lg. There was a five-fold increase in degraded HRP transport in sensitized (39.4 ± 6.6 pmoles/h.cm²) versus control (7.37 ± 2.51 pmoles/h.cm²) animals, with and without (β-lg challenge. Serosally applied β-lg enhanced transport of intact HRP in sensitized but not in control animals. These results indicate that sensitization of guinea pigs to cow's milk permanently increases endocytic and electrogenic activities. The challenge with β-lg induced a further transient rise in Isc and increased intact HRP transport.
Factors affecting milk composition of Murrah buffaloes were studied on 682 samples during the lactation of 300 or less days. Overall values of fat, solids-not-fat (SNF), total solids (TS), protein, casein and lactose percentages averaged 7.65±0.05, 9.36±0.02, 17.01±0.05, 3.81±0.02, 3.02±0.01 and 4.83±0.01 respectively. All traits of milk composition differed significantly among months of lactation. The fat, SNF, TS, protein and casein of milk decreased to lowest percentage of 7.12±0.10, 9.22±0.03, 16.33±0.12, 3.65±0.04 and 2.89±0.03, respectively, during the fourth month and increased at subsequent months of lactation. However, lactose percentage increased to peak of 4.90±0.03 during fourth month and decreased slowly thereafter during the lactation. The fat and TS percentage were significantly higher in the first parity. Season of calving did not affect the milk composition of Murrah buffalo; however, year of calving was significant for all the traits.