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Content archived on 2024-04-19

Use of Camels in Arid Regions as Potential Sources for Milk and Meat


Only limited scientific and technological knowledge on the use of milk and meat of the one-humped desert camel (Camelus dromedarius) is available despite the importance and use of camels by the indigenous people of Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia.Among the domesticated animals used for milk and meat production the camels are by far best adapted to arid and semi-arid environments.

This results in their proverbial resistance against drought and heal and their outstanding capability of occupying ecological niches with respect to their habit and feeding requirements.
More intensive and systematic use of camel milk and meat for human nutrition in aride regions needs reliable data on the milk and meat production and composition.

This is unalterable necessary for their rational, reproducible and hygenic safe processing.
This also requires data on the use of various breeds of camel and their feeding requirements.

The following research strategy is used in a collaborative work comprising five partners (academic and agricultural) in Kenya and Ethiopia and three institutions in Europe.

(a) Determination of the composition of camel milk and meat using established analytical techniques.
The composition of common camels will be compared to that ol particular breeds (dairy camels).
This requires also field trips to nomadic pastoralist ir order to obtain accurate information on the grazing and browsing behaviour, water intake, milk yield, etc. of their camels.
The content of proteins, fat, lactose and other carbohydrates, minerals, trace elements and vitamins will be analyzed.
Individual milk proteins will be isolated and their structures determined. Methods for the preservation of meat using simple methods and techniques and the production of traditional dried meat products as well as the processing of an air-dried sausage are developed.

(b) Investigation of the preservation of milk by heat treatment or addition of hydrogen peroxide.
Determination of the clotting behaviour of camel milk using calf rennet, camel rennet, microbial rennet and plant rennet (or selected mixtures therefrom).Production of powdered milk by spraydrying as a basis for preparing reconstituted milk for dairy products.
Use of the results for the production of hygenically safe milk, sour milk products and Feta-type cheeses.

(c) Investigation of the microbiology of camel milk, including quantitativ estimation and cha racterisation of pathogenic bacteria as well as characterisation, isolation and test for suitability as starter cultures of lactic/acid bacteria.
The research will lead to better understanding of the composition, technological behaviour and microbiology of camel milk and meat taking the particular physiology and ecology of these animals into account.
The research will benefit directly human nutrition and camel owners cash income.


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Universität Hohenheim
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Schwerzstraße 33
70599 Stuttgart

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Participants (4)