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INTRODUCTION
oat is truly known as the poor man's cow.
Dairy goat and dairy sheep farming are a
vital part of the national economy in many
countries, especially in the Mediterranean and
Middle-East region and are particularly well
organized in France, Italy, Spain and Greece
(Chiofalo et al., 2004). Presently, India possesses
126 million goats which contribute 14.5% of the
world (FAO, 2009). The goat is one of the main
contributors of dairy and meat products for rural
people, more than any other mammalian farm
animal, particularly in developing country. One
of the prominent aspects of demand of goat milk
is its home consumption. This demand is
increasing because of the growing populations
of people. The second important aspect of demand
for goat milk is the connoisseur interest in goat
milk products especially, cheeses and yoghurt
in several developed and developing countries.
This demand is growing because of the increasing
levels of per capita incomes. In addition to that,
another important aspect of demand for goat milk
derives from the affliction of persons with cow
milk allergies and other gastro-intestinal
ailments. This demand is also growing because
of a greater awareness of problems with
traditional medical treatments to such afflictions
among the people. Goat milk is wanted or even
needed by people of all income groups. Despite
the much larger volume available of cow milk,
it's much cheaper production usually and
therefore, lower market price, the production
and marketing of goat milk and its products is
therefore, an essential niche in the total dairy
industry sector. Goat milk differs from cow or
human milk in having better digestibility,
alkalinity, buffering capacity and certain
therapeutic values in medicine and human
nutrition (Coni et al., 1999).
The specific gravity of cow and goat milk is almost
similar and generally found in the range of 1.023
to 1.030. Titratable acidity (expressed as
percentage of lactic acid) is also nearer to that
Nutritional FNutritional F
Nutritional FNutritional F
Nutritional Featureatur
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eatures of Goat Milkes of Goat Milk
es of Goat Milkes of Goat Milk
es of Goat Milk
— A R— A R
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1 * Corresponding author
. Sr. Assistant Professor (Dairy Technology), Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Dairy Technology (BAU, Sabour), P.O.- BVC
Campus, Jagdeopath, Patna-800014. Email: sanju_kvk@yahoo.co.in
2 M. Sc. (Dairy Technology), Bihar Agriculture College (BAU, Sabour), Sabour, Bhagalpur (Bihar)
3 Assistant Professor (Animal Science), Bihar Agriculture College (BAU, Sabour), Sabour, Bhagalpur (Bihar)
4 Assistant Professor (Dairy Technology), Sanjay Gandhi Institute of Dairy Science and Technology (BAU, Sabour),
P.O.- BVC Campus, Jagdeopath, Patna-800014. Email: suryamanikr@gmail.com
5 Research Associate, Dairy Technology Division, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001. Email:
absuneelkhatkar@gmail.com
6 Principal Scientist, Dairy Technology Division, National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001. Email:
skkanawjia@rediffmail.com
2012-044 Received:October 2011; Accepted:July 2012
Sanjeev Kumar1*, Birendra Kumar2, Rajesh Kumar3, Suryamani Kumar4,
Sunil K. Khatkar5 and S. K. Kanawjia6
National Dairy Research Institute, Karnal-132001 (Haryana)
The goat is one of the main contributor of dairy and it produces about 2% of the world's total
annual milk supply. Goat's milk is the most highly consumed milk in many other parts of the
world and it is delicious as well as extremely nutritious. It has vitamins, minerals, trace
elements, electrolytes, enzymes, proteins, and fatty acids that are easily assimilated by the
body. Goat's milk has a similarity to human milk that is unmatched in bovine (cow) milk and
also has several medicinal values. Therefore, awareness about advantage of consumption of
goat milk should be popularized so that production and utilization of goat milk could be
enhanced.
Keywords: Goat's milk, Nutritional value, Protein, Fat profile, Minerals, Vitamins
Review Article
G
267 Indian J. Dairy Sci. 65(4), 2012
of cow's milk and generally observed from 0.11
to 0.18. Viscosity at 27°C is marginally lower
than that of cow's milk. In addition to that, the
refractive index of goat milk is also almost close
to cow milk. The electrical conductivity of goat
milk is found in the range of 0.0101 to 0.0188
ohm-1 cm-1, whereas, pH value of goat milk found
in the ranges of 6.5 to 6.9 as against 6.6 to 6.8
in case of cow milk. However, curd tension is
below than the cow milk, which is responsible
for better digestibility in goat milk as compared
to cow milk. Goat milk has more Ca, P and K in
comparison to cow and human milk (Bihaqi and
Jalal, 2010). Goat milk also has simple lipids
(diacylglycerols, monoacylgycerols, cholesterol
esters), complex lipids (phospholipids) and
liposoluble compounds (sterols, cholesterol esters,
hydrocarbons). Non-protein nitrogen (NPN)
contents of goat and human milks are higher
than in cow milk (Jooyandeh and Aberoumand,
2010). Especially, one of the important aspects
of demand for goat milk is mainly due to its
medicinal value. Still, more research for its
nutritional and medicinal value is essential for
utilization of goat milk in human consumption
as well as in medicinal use in developing as
well as in developed countries.
NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF GOAT MILK
The overall average composition of goat, cow and
human milk is presented in Table 1. The
nutritional and health benefits of goat milk are
related to a number of medical problems of people,
foremost being food allergies with cow milk
proteins the dominant food cause (Walker, 1964).
The α-Lactoglobulin is not present in human
milk and has therefore been assumed to be the
most offending protein in cow milk, however
comparative studies showed no difference between
the allergenicity of α-lactoglobulin and caseins
(Buergin-Wolff et al., 1980; Taylor, 1986). Cow
milk allergy is considered a common disease
with a prevalence of 2.5% in children during
the first 3 years of life (Businco and Bellanti,
1993), occurring in 12-30% of infants less than
3 months old (Lothe et al., 1982), with an overall
frequency in Scandinavia of 7-8% (Host et al.,
1988), even as high as 20% in some areas (Nestle,
1987), and reported in Italy in 3% of children
under 2 years of age (Bevilacqua et al., 2000).
Treatment with goat milk resolved between 30
and 40% of the problem cases, and in one
particular study 49 of 55 treated children
benefited. There are wide varieties of genetic
polymorphisms (Grosclaude, 1995) of the different
caseins and whey proteins which add to the
complexity of the cow milk allergy situation and
difficulty to determine which protein is mainly
responsible for an allergic reaction. However, it
has now been noticed that 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
(Bevilacqua et al., 2000). Goat milk with the
genetic trait of low or no αs1-casein, but instead
with αs2-casein, has less curd yield, longer rennet
coagulation time, more heat stability, and weaker
curd firmness, which also may explain the benefits
in digestibility in the human digestive tract
(Ambrosoli et al., 1988). Goat milk as a substitute
for cow milk was studied in 38 children during
a 5 months period (Mack, 1952). The children
on goat milk surpassed those on cow milk in
weight gain, height, skeletal mineralization, and
blood serum contents of Vitamin A, calcium,
thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and hemoglobin. Similar
findings were obtained in studies with rats (Park
et al., 1986). In other extensive clinical studies
with children allergic to cow milk, the treatment
with goat milk produced positive results in 93%
of the children and was recommended as a
valuable aid in child nutrition because of less
allergenicity and better digestibility than cow
milk (Reinert and Fabre, 1997; Fabre, 1997;
Grzesiak, 1997). In further studies with rats,
which had 50% of their distal small intestine
removed by resection, simulating the pathological
condition of malabsorption syndrome, the feeding
of goat milk instead of cow milk as part of the
diet resulted in significantly higher digestibility
and absorption of iron and copper, thus preventing
anemia (Barrionuevo et al., 2002). Due to
predominance of smaller fat globules in goat milk,
it is easier to digest than cow milk and this
may be attributed to faster lipase activity on
smaller fat globules due to greater surface area
(Chandan et al., 1992). Hence, goat milk is
recommended for infants, old and convalescent
people. In addition to this, fatty acids like caproic,
caprylic and capric are reported to have great
medicinal values for patients suffering from a
variety of malabsorption, childhood epilepsy, cystic
fibrosis and gallstones (Haenlein, 1992). Also in
these further studies, the utilization of fat and
Features of Goat Milk
268
weight gain was improved with goat milk in the
diet, compared to cow milk, and levels of
cholesterol were reduced, while triglyceride, HDL
values remained normal (Alferez et al., 2001). 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 versus 21% in cow milk), which decreases
the synthesis of endogenous cholesterol. Thus
goat milk is recommended as a "useful alternative
to cow milk for all age groups especially to
children."
PROTEIN PROFILE OF GOAT MILK
The comparative composition of proteins and
their components in the milk of goats and cows
have been reviewed by Jenness (1980) and
Haenlein (2001), identifying many unique
differences between the two species, and showing
a wide diversity due to genetics of different breeds
within each species, influences of stage of
lactation, feeding, climate, and subclinical
mastitis. It has been found that goat milk has
a significantly higher dye-binding capacity per
unit protein (1% more than cow milk) and a
lower infra-red absorption (4% less than cow milk)
(Grappin et al.,1979), making it necessary to
use different calibration curves for each species
to measure milk protein content. These studies
have been supported by Zeng (1996), when testing
with cow milk standards resulted in 0.04% less
fat and 0.27% less protein in goat milk. Goat
milk proteins are similar to the major cow milk
proteins in their general classifications of α-,
β-, κ-caseins, β-lactoglobulin, α-lactalbumin, but
they differ widely in genetic polymorphisms and
their frequencies in goat populations (Grosclaude,
1995). The presence of the αs1-casein trait has
been studied much in recent years, when it
was discovered that it has six different types,
A, B, C, E, F and "null" in goat milk. In cow
milk, αs1-casein is the major αs-casein. The
"null" type or absence in some goat milk means
that in different goats the major (αs-casein is
the αs2-casein variant, but which has different
digestibility and cheese making properties
(Remeuf, 1993). The differences in genetic types
are because of amino acid substitutions in the
protein chains, which are responsible for the
differences in digestibility, cheese making
properties and flavors of goat milk products
(Rystad et al., 1990), but the amino acid
substitutions also enable the detection of even
small amounts of adulteration with cow milk
(Aschaffenburg and Dance, 1968; Amigo et al.,
1989). Peptides formed from goat milk casein
by proteases tasted much less bitter than those
from cow milk casein (Pelissier and Manchon,
1976). Casein micelles, the form of casein
molecule suspended in goat milk, also differ
markedly from cow milk in less complete
sedimentation rate, greater β-casein
solubilization, smaller size of micelle, more
calcium and phosphorus, less solvation, and low
heat stability (Jenness, 1980). Average amino
acid composition of goat and cow milk (Table 2),
shows higher levels of 6 of the 10 essential
amino acids: threonine, isoleucine, lysine,
cystine, tyrosine, valine in goat milk (Posati
and Orr, 1976). Their comparative metabolic
effects have not been studied much in goat milk,
but this could assist in the interpretation of
some of the empirical beneficial effects of goat
milk in human nutrition. In studies with rats,
which had malabsorption syndromes, it was found
that goat milk improved the intestinal absorption
of copper, which was attributed to the higher
contents of cysteine (derived from cystine) in
goat milk (83 mg/100 g) than in cow milk (28
mg/100 g) (Barrionuevo et al., 2002). Overall,
the adult daily dietary nutrient recommendations
for essential amino acids would be met equally
or exceeded by a 0.5 litre goat milk consumption
compared to same quantity of cow milk (NRC,
1968).
Table 1: Average Composition (%) of Milks
Species Water Fat Protein Lactose Ash Solid-not-fat Total
(SNF) Solids
Goat 87.00 4.25 3.52 4.27 0.86 8.75 13.00
Cow 87.20 3.70 3.50 4.90 0.70 9.10 12.80
Human 87.43 3.75 1.63 6.98 0.21 8.82 12.75
Source: Webb and Johnson, 1965
Sanjeev Kumar et al.
269 Indian J. Dairy Sci. 65(4), 2012
FAT PROFILE OF GOAT MILK
An important component in goat milk is its fat
or lipid content. The size of fat globules in milk
range from 1-10 micron in both cow and goat.
But, in goat milk the globule size less than 5
microns is 83%, as compared to 62% in cow's
milk (Bihaqi and Jalal, 2010). Average goat milk
fat differs in contents of its fatty acids profile
significantly from average cow milk fat (Jenness,
1980), being much higher 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) (Table 3). Capric, caprylic
acids and medium chain triglycerides (MCT) have
become established medical treatments for an
array of clinical disorders, including
malabsorption syndromes, chyluria, steatorrhea,
hyperlipoproteinemia, intestinal resection,
premature infant feeding, non-thriftiness of
children, infant malnutrition, epilepsy, cystic
fibrosis, coronary by-pass, and gallstones, because
of their unique metabolic ability to provide direct
energy instead of being deposited in adipose
tissues, and because of their actions of lowering
serum cholesterol, inhibiting and limiting
cholesterol deposition (Alferez et al., 2001). Goat
milk has higher content of monounsaturated
(MUFA), polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and
medium chain triglycerides (MCT) than cow milk,
which all are proven to be beneficial for human
health, especially for cardiovascular conditions
(Table 3). This biomedical superiority has not
been promoted much in marketing goat milk,
goat yoghurt and goat cheeses, but has great
potential in justifying the uniqueness of goat
milk in human nutrition and medicine (Haenlein,
1992) for treating the various gastro-intestinal
disorders and diseases, besides its value in
alleviating cow milk allergies. The fatty acid
composition of goat milk fat can also be changed
towards even more of the beneficial fatty acids
by different regimes of feed supplementation to
goats (LeDoux et al., 2002; Sanz Sampelayo et
al., 2002).
Manipulations of goat feeding towards higher
contents of beneficial unsaturated fatty acids
in goat milk fat by feeding special feed
supplements like protected fats can be used to
"tailor make" "functional foods" and even further
improve the nutritional value of goat milk (Sanz
Sampelayo et al., 2002). Recently more "beneficial
fat", conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), has been
identified as a potent anticarcinogen and is
primarily provided to the human diet by dairy
products (Pfeuffer, 2000; Kansal, 2003). Mono
ethyl-branched substitutions on C4 and C6 fatty
acids are present only in goat milk and not in
Table 2: Average amino acid composition (g/l00 g milk) in proteins of goat and cow milk
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
Source: Posati and Orr, 1976
Features of Goat Milk
270
cow milk. A comparatively high number of minor
branched-chain fatty acids is found in goat milk
and the content of trans-C18:l fatty acids is
significantly lower in goat milk than in cow milk,
also a benefit for coronary heart disease risks.
Goat butter, ghee and related products with their
even higher contents of MCT, unsaturated fatty
acids and CLA than the original milk has not
been studied much nor produced commercially.
Here is the potential to provide a goat milk
product with specially beneficial and proven
properties for human nutrition and health,
besides its general food value to starving people
and to connoisseurs. This supports the idea that
goat butter would have new and not yet promoted
for human health benefits so far. So, there is a
need to further studies the beneficial health
aspects of goat milk and milk products.
There are a number of unique physiological and
anatomical differences between goats and cows
which translate into differences in composition
of goat milk and its products (Haenlein, 1992,
1996, 2001). This was already recognized by the
Goat Milk Task Force of the National Conference
on Interstate Milk Shipments (NCIMS, USA)
(Atherton, 1983).US dairy industry had set up
separate standards for goat milk from cow milk
for butter fat content minimum, solids-not-fat
content, somatic cell count maximum, method
for only nucleated cells in milk, lower freezing
point level, different natural inhibitor test,
different milk pasteurization test, validity of
brucellosis ring test, detection of cow milk in
goat milk, all of which had to insure fair market
quality control regulations and practices for goat
milk producers.
MINERAL PROFILE OF GOAT MILK
Mineral contents of goat milk are much higher
than cow and human milk. Goat milk contains
about 134 mg Ca and 121 mg P/100 g (Table 4),
while human milk has only one-fourth to one-
sixth of these two major minerals. The
concentrations of macro-minerals may not
fluctuate much, but they vary depending on the
breed, diet, individual animal, stage of lactation,
and status of udder health (Park and Chukwu,
1988). Overall, goat milk has more Ca, P, K, Mg
and Cl, and less Na and S contents than cow
milk (Park and Chukwu, 1988; Chandan et al.,
1992). Among trace minerals, Zn was in greater
amounts, but goat and cow milk had more Zn
than human milk (Park and Chukwu, 1989).
Levels of Fe in goat and cow milk are significantly
lower than in human milk (Table 4), whereas
goat and cow milk contain significantly greater
iodine contents than human milk, which would
be important for human nutrition, since iodine
and thyroid hormones are involved in the
metabolic rate of physiological body functions
(Underwood, 1977). Goat and human milk contain
Table 3: Average fatty acid composition (g/100 g milk) in lipids of goat and cow milk
Goat milk Cow milk Difference (%) for goat milk
C4:0 butyric 0.13 0.11
C6:0 caproic 0.09 0.06
C8:0 caprylic 0.10 0.04
C10:0 capric 0.26 0.08
C12:0 lauric 0.12 0.09
C14:0 myristic 0.32 0.34
C16:0 palmitic 0.91 0.88
C18:0 stearic 0.44 0.40
C6-14 total MCT 0.89 0.61 +46
C4-18 total SAFA 2.67 2.08 +28
C16:1 palmitoleic 0.08 0.08
C18:1 oleic 0.98 0.84
C16:1-22:1 total MUFA 1.11 0.96 +16
C18:2 linoleic 0.11 0.08
C18:3 linolenic 0.04 0.05
C18:2-18:3 total PUFA 0.15 0.12 +25
(Source: Posati and Orr, 1976)
MCT: medium chain triglycerides; SAFA: saturated fatty acids; MUFA:
monounsaturated fatty acids; PUFA: polyunsaturated fatty acids
Sanjeev Kumar et al.
271 Indian J. Dairy Sci. 65(4), 2012
higher levels of Se than cow milk (Table 4).
Small amounts of Se (<3%) are associated with
the lipid fraction of milk. Glutathione peroxidase
is higher in goat than in human and cow milk.
Total peroxidase activity (associated with
glutathione peroxidase) was 65% in goat milk
as opposed to 29% for human and 27% for cow
milk (Debski et al. 1987).
VITAMIN PROFILE OF GOAT MILK
Goat milk has higher amounts of Vitamin A
than cow milk (Table 5). Because goats convert
all β-carotene into Vitamin A in the milk, caprine
milk is whiter than bovine milk. Goat milk
supplies adequate amounts of Vitamin A and
niacin, and excesses of thiamin, riboflavin and
pantothenate for a human infant (Ford et al.,
1972; Parkash and Jenness, 1968). If a human
infant fed solely on goat milk, the infant is
oversupplied with protein, Ca, P, Vitamin A,
thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and pantothenate in
relation to the FAO-WHO requirements (Jenness,
1980). Compared to cow milk, goat milk has
significant deficiencies in folic acid and Vitamin
B12, which cause "goat milk anemia" (Jenness,
1980). Levels of folate and Vitamin B12 in cow
milk are five times higher than those of goat
milk, and folate is necessary for the synthesis
of hemoglobin (Davidson and Townley, 1977).
Goat and cow milk are both deficient in
pyridoxine (B6), Vitamins C and D, and all these
deficient vitamins must be supplemented to baby
nutrition from other sources (Mc Clenathan and
Walker, 1982). In heat treatment of goat milk,
Lavigne et al. (1989), reported that high
temperature short time pasteurization (HTST)
Table 4: Mineral contents (amount in 100 g) of goat and cow
milk as compared with human milk
Mineral Goat Cow Human
Ca (mg) 134 122 33
P (mg) 121 119 43
Mg (mg) 16 12 4
K (mg) 181 152 55
Na (mg) 41 58 15
Cl (mg) 150 100 60
S (mg) 28 32 14
Fe (mg) 0.07 0.08 0.20
Cu (mg) 0.05 0.06 0.06
Mn (mg) 0.032 0.02 0.07
Zn (mg 0.56 0.53 0.38
I (mg) 0.022 0.021 0.007
Se (μg) 1.33 0.96 1.52
Source: Park et al., 2007
Table 5: Vitamin contents (amount in 100 g) of goat and
cow milk as compared with human milk
Vitamin Goat Cow Human
Vitamin A (IU) 185 126 190
Vitamin D (IU) 2.3 2.0 1.4
Thiamine (mg) 0.068 0.045 0.017
Riboflavin (mg) 0.21 0.16 0.02
Niacin (mg) 0.27 0.08 0.17
Pantothenic acid (mg) 0.31 0.32 0.20
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.046 0.042 0.011
Folic acid (μg) 1.0 5.0 5.5
Biotin (μg) 1.5 2.0 0.4
Vitamin B12 (μg) 0.065 0.357 0.03
Vitamin C (mg) 1.29 0.94 5.00
Source: Park et al., 2007
Features of Goat Milk
272
of goat milk was the best processing method to
preserve vitamins as well as to extend shelf-
life of the milk, although some losses of thiamine,
riboflavin and Vitamin C occurred.
CONCLUSIONS
It is evident from this paper that goat milk is
superior with respect to cow milk in terms of
nutritional value of milk. Awareness about
advantage of consumption of goat milk should
be popularized so that production and utilization
of goat milk could be enhanced. More research
are still required to exploit the use of liquid
goat milk as well as its application licensing
in manufacture of several milk products
especially various types of cheese and fermented
milk food throughout the world.
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Features of Goat Milk
... An increase in the activity of a number of proteases during the heat treatment of milk can contribute to this [20]. In addition, by increasing the number and increasing the availability of sulfhydryl groups, denaturation and degradation of proteins can lead to an additional contribution to the increase in the antioxidant activity of cow and goat milk [20,21]. As well as other side groups of amino acids that can play the role of traps for reactive oxygen species. ...
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