Life-saving bio culture is developed to make camel milk safe
Researchers from institutions in Denmark and Ethiopia have formulated a freeze-dried starter culture that camel-milk farmers can use to make safe, fermented milk products.
Camel milk accounts for at least nine percent of Africa’s milk production, with the majority of the world’s camels being located in East Africa. Camel farmers sell much of the milk locally as a fermented product, in a process that occurs naturally as a result of the warm conditions. Given the often poor levels of hygiene, the milk usually contains disease-causing microorganisms such as E.coli and Salmonella.
Bacteria formulation safely ferments camel milk
Researchers from institutions in Denmark and Ethiopia have isolated new strains of lactic acid bacteria from raw camel milk, which can be used in a starter culture that both acidifies the milk and kills off even very large amounts of various disease-causing microorganisms in the milk. The researchers believe this to be a novel discovery for making camel milk products safer to consume.
The freeze-dried starter is the result of a five-year project wherein experiments have shown that five litres of camel milk can make enough starter culture to produce half a million litres of safe, fermented camel milk. The team behind the study recommends that the milk is heat treated prior to adding the culture to help further reduce disease-causing bacteria.
Life-saving result for Africa
While more affluent countries have effective healthcare systems that can efficiently treat those with foodbourne illnesses; in Africa, the healthcare systems are less robust. Foodborne disease that causes diarrhoea and vomiting can quickly lead to dehydration and be fatal.
African researchers estimate that food poisoning kills 137,000 people on the continent annually. For Haramaya University, the project is an important element in the university’s work to develop sustainable solutions and increase food safety in Ethiopia.
The project was headed by the Technical University of Denmark, DTU, in cooperation with the University of Copenhagen, ingredient producer Chr. Hansen and Haramaya University in Ethiopia. It was partly funded by Denmark’s development cooperation programme, DANIDA.