Donkey Milk Bioactive Powder

Host Organisation: P.E.S Ktima Georgiadi Ltd.
Partner Organisation(s): PA 1: Cyprus University of Technology PA 2: E.U.C. Research Centre Ltd
Project Budget: 161.874,00 €
IDEK Funding: 156.854,00 €

Infants who are breast-fed have lower incidence as well as less severe infections and gastrointestinal illnesses compared to infants who are exclusively fed infant formula (due to the lack of human milk); this is partly explained by the lack of bioactive and anti-infective factors from amino acid or extensively hydrolysed milk formulae. Nonetheless, in formula-fed infants and immunocompromised, dietary interventions are effective means of enhancing immunity; several in vitro and in vivo studies showed that donkey’s milk conveys constituents which have nutraceutical and functional properties that can support immunity. However, it is recommended by paediatricians and clinicians that raw milk must be thermally processed to render it safe for sensitive population (i.e. infants and immunocompromised). On the other hand, thermal processing is known to reduce the bioactivity of milk. Consequently, the objective of this project is to produce safe, non-thermally processed, freeze-dried donkey milk which will carry superior bioactivity. Due to the nature of the processing methods that are going to be used in this project, the methodology has been designed in a way that will allow the optimisation of each of the processing techniques, especially tailored on the chemical and microbiological composition of donkey’s milk produced in the proposed farm. The milk processed under the optimised processing methods will be compared to raw milk in terms of bioactivity and hence characterise the non-thermal processing method in terms of its ability to preserve bioactive compounds. It is expected that the novel, non-thermal processing method which will be used will have minimal impact on bioactivity. Based on the expected results, by the end of this project, three distinct products can emerge with each being applicable to a different niche market and of superior quality than the existing products currently produced from Golden Donkey Farm; two of these products are applicable to the pharmaceutical and infant market.