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Nutritional and Nutraceutical Quality of Donkey Milk

Mina Martini, Iolanda Altomonte, Rosario Licitra, Federica Salari
Journal of equine veterinary science 2018 v.65 pp. 33-37
elderly, milk, vitamins, breeds, flora, palatability, people, mineral content, protein composition, functional foods, lactose, calcium, ass milk, children, intestinal absorption, flavor, biodiversity, childhood, food allergies, taste, lysozyme, lipid content, milk proteins, microorganisms, asses, breast milk, supply chain, Italy
In the last few decades, there has been a renewed interest in donkeys by the scientific community involved in the recovery of biodiversity, in the rescue of some donkey breeds that have become almost extinct, and in the rediscovery of donkey milk. In addition, due to the increase in food allergies, attention has been focused on the need for a “natural” milk with a good taste, which could be used in some childhood illnesses such as allergy to cow's milk protein allergy (CMPA). Donkey milk is very similar to human milk, especially in terms of its protein profile and lactose content, which increases palatability, stimulates intestinal absorption of calcium, and thus provides an excellent substrate for the development of enteric flora. The high content of lysozyme in this milk favors selective action against pathogenic microorganisms. In addition, the mineral content (such as calcium) and liposoluble vitamins make it an excellent nutraceutical product. A project aimed to create a donkey milk supply chain from the Amiata native breed has recently been developed in Central Italy (Tuscany). In this paper, the nutritional and nutraceutical characteristics of donkey milk are reviewed in detail. In addition, some of the potential uses of donkey milk have been briefly described: in the diet of children with CMPA, in the diets of the elderly and of people who need to lose weight by virtue of the low-fat content, and the good contribution of omega 3.