Camels subsist and produce milk in desert pastures not utilized by other domesticated herbivores. Developing the camel milk industry can improve the economy of desert inhabitants. To comply with sanitary ordinances, camel milk is pasteurized by procedures specified for bovine milk. It is widely accepted that milk composition might affect bacterial thermal death time (TDT). Camel and bovine milks markedly differ in their chemical composition, yet data regarding TDT values of bacteria in camel milk is missing. As a first step toward developing specific heat treatments appropriate for camel milk, TDT curves of Escherichia coli in artificially contaminated camel and cow milks have been compared. Heating the milks to temperatures ranging from 58 to 65°C yields similar thermal death curves and derived D- and z-values. These findings suggest that, in this temperature range, E. coli might behave similarly in bovine and camel milk. Additional TDT studies of various pathogenic species in camel milk are required before establishing pasteurization conditions of camel milk.

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