School of Pharmacy, University of Camerino, Via Circonvallazione 93, 62024 Matelica (MC), Italy.
Human breast milk is the best nutritional support to ensure right development and influence immune status of the newborn infant. However, when it is not possible to breast feed it may be necessary to use commercial infant formulas that mimic, where possible, the levels and types of nutrients present in human milk. Despite this, some formula-fed infants develop allergy and/or atopic disease compared to breast-fed infants. Most infants with cow’s milk protein allergy (CMPA) develop symptoms before 1 month of age, often within 1 week after introduction of cow’s milk-based formula. Donkey milk may be considered a good substitute for cow’s milk in feeding children with CMPA since its composition is very similar to human milk.
An in-depth analysis of the donkey milk protein profile has been performed in this study. The interest was focused on the milk proteins considered safe for the prevention and treatment of various disorders in human. Since donkey milk supply is related to its seasonal availability during the year, in this study were evaluated the effects of different thermal treatments on the protein fractions of donkey milk. The results obtained in fresh, frozen, powdered and lyophilized donkey milk showed different values in total proteins, caseins, whey proteins and lysozyme content. This study demonstrated the possibility of using lyophilization in order to maintain the nutritional characteristics of donkey milk. The article presents some promising patents on the effects of thermal treatments on donkey milk nutritional characteristics.