Cows' milk allergy is an increasing problem in human infancy and clinical studies show interesting results on equid (horse and donkey) milk tolerability. Donkey milk is also considered useful in the prevention of atherosclerosis and has the ability to upregulate the immune response of healthy elderly humans. The mammary gland capacity in equids is low and milking technique and routine are of utmost importance. Details on milk proteins, fat fractions, minerals, and vitamins are discussed here with regard to milk nutritional value and tolerability; the hypolipid content must be balanced in the consumer's diet. The presence of bioactive and functional components in raw horse and donkey milk is also reviewed. Equid milk and milk derivatives could become valuable foods for elderly consumers; equid milk could be considered for probiotic beverage production, as health-promoting properties are claimed for koumiss or airag. (C) 2011 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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