Effect of genetic and nongenetic factors on chemical composition of individual milk samples from dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) under intensive management

P. Nagy, Zs N. Fábri, L. Varga, J. Reiczigel, J. Juhász

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


The aims of the present study were to monitor the changes in gross chemical composition of individual dromedary camel milk over a 5-yr period, to provide reference values, and to determine the effect of genetic and nongenetic factors influencing camel milk composition under intensive management. A total of 1,528 lactating dromedary camels were included in the study. Animals were fed a constant diet and were milked twice a day in a herringbone parlor. Milk samples were collected at monthly intervals using a sampling device and then fat, protein, lactose, total solids (TS), and solids-nonfat (SNF) concentrations of raw camel milk were determined with an automatic milk analyzer. For each milk sample, production parameters were recorded and quantities (grams) of milk constituents were calculated. The overall mean quantity and fat, protein, lactose, SNF, and TS concentrations of the morning milk were 4.0 kg, 2.58%, 2.95%, 4.19%, 8.08%, and 10.46%, respectively. Milk quantity showed a positive correlation with lactose and a negative correlation with all other components. Parity exerted a strong effect on all milk parameters. Primiparous dromedaries (n = 60) produced less milk with higher concentrations of components than did multiparous animals (n = 1,468). Milk composition varied among the 7 breeds tested, but none of the genotypes was found to be superior to the others in this respect. We detected a significant, yet small calf sex-biased difference in milk yield and composition. Stage of lactation and season strongly influenced milk yield and all milk components. We also found a significant interaction between month postpartum (mPP) and month of the year. The concentration of all milk components decreased from 1 to 5 mPP. Later, lactose concentration and quantity continued to decrease parallel with decreasing milk production. The concentration of other components showed a temporary increase in mid lactation, from 6 to 11 mPP, and in late lactation, from 18 to 23 mPP. Mean fat, protein, SNF, and TS concentrations showed a high seasonal variation (9.5 to 28.7%), with the lowest and highest values being measured during summer and winter, respectively. This seasonal variation was independent of nutrition and may reflect an endogenous circannual rhythm. We observed a noticeable variation among years. Dromedary camels could provide a useful in vivo model to study the homeorhetic regulation of mammary cell function by endogenous and environmental factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8680-8693
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of dairy science
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • dromedary camel
  • milk composition
  • season
  • stage of lactation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of genetic and nongenetic factors on chemical composition of individual milk samples from dromedary camels (Camelus dromedarius) under intensive management'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this