Cow milk and its products have been dominating the dairy industry for decades after the industrialization of the food sector. The contribution of other animal species, such as buffalo, goats, sheep, and camel, is minimal. However, milk from these animals has great advantages and potential.
Camel milk, in particular, is a very unique and healthy product with, especially anti-allergic and anti-diabetic effects. Several studies have shown that camel milk has some therapeutic potential in both type-1 and type-2 Diabetes mellitus. It is suggested that suggest that drinking half a liter of camel milk per day contributes to decreasing fasting blood glucose, HbA1c, and plasma insulin levels in both types of diabetes. The healthy effects of camel milk are attracting increasing attention from the consumers and the food industry. This is a very interesting new trend and requires some more research to optimize and develop consumer-acceptable functional products for commercialization.
“Don’t limit your challenges.
Challenge your limits.”Anonymous
The dairy industry process cow milk into different types of products including pasteurized milk, ultra-high heat-treated milk, fermented products, and milk powders and formulations. Camel milk can be pasteurized, like cow milk, but it faces challenges during fermentation to yogurt and cheese. Research has shown that it is difficult to produce set-type yogurt and hard cheese from camel milk due to different milk compositions and characteristics. These products are generally more liquid and soft but camel milk is perfect for the manufacture of fermented drinkable yogurt. Several products are produced by the traditional societies such as laban in the Middle East, Garis in Sudan, Suusaa in Kenya and Somalia, Dhaanan and Ititu in Ethiopia, Chal in Iran and Turkey, and Shubat in Kazakhstan. These products are believed to be healthy and this is supported by scientific findings.
Actually, a number of products can be developed from camel milk including milk powders and drinkable fermented products. Camel milk has a special taste and flavor and may feel different or unliked by some consumers. However, other consumers who are used to it do not substitute it with cow milk despite its higher price (camel milk is 3-10 times more expensive than cow milk, depending on the country). Some consumers believe that raw camel milk is more healthy than pasteurized milk but raw camel milk might be contaminated with unhealthy bacteria. The shelf-life of camel milk is longer than that of cow milk and, therefore, quality standards need to be developed for camel milk.
Research is creating new knowledge.
In much of society, research means to investigate something you do not know or understandNeil Armstrong
As part of my job as a professor at the United Arab Emirates University, I do research on the composition, structure, and properties of camel milk. We try to understand how different is camel milk in its chemical composition and how those differences explain and relate to the different behavior of this camel with regard to nutrition and product properties. We find this research challenging and exciting and we are always making new discoveries. In our research, we collaborate with food industries and scientists in UAE and abroad. Working together with others who are excited about camels and their products is highly inspiring. Some of our recently published papers are listed below.
1- Sobti, B., Al Teneiji, H. A. A., and Kamal-Eldin, A. (2019) Effect of added Bovine Casein and Whey Protein on the Quality of Camel and Bovine Milk Yoghurts. Emirates Journal of Food & Agriculture31: 804-811 (open access).
2- Kamal-Eldin, A., Al Hammadi, A., Gharsallaoui, A., Hamad, F., Ghnimi, S. (2020) Physicochemical, Rheological, and Microstructural Properties of Yogurts Produced from Mixtures of Camel and Bovine Milks. NFS Journal 19: 26-33 (open access).
3- Mbye, M., Sobti, B., Al Nuami, M. K., Al shamsi, Y., Al Khateri, L., Al Saedi, R., Saeed, M., Ramachandran, T., Hamed, F., and Kamal-Eldin, A. (2020) Physicochemical properties, sensory quality, and coagulation behavior of camel versus bovine milk soft unripened cheeses. NFS Journal (in press).