In the Sacramento and Davis area, researchers at the University of California, Davis have found that goat’s milk can successfully treat diarrhea in other animals, but can it someday do the same in humans? See the video, “Healthful goats’ milk.” One holistic way of treating certain microbes in the gut is with goat’s milk instead of prescription drugs. Some people make soap out of goat’s milk. See, “Goat Milk Soap Benefits.”
The study is the first on record to show that goats’ milk carrying elevated levels of the antimicrobial lysozyme, a protein found in human breast milk, can successfully treat diarrhea caused by bacterial infection in the gastrointestinal tract, according to the March 13, 2013 UC Davis news release, “Goats’ milk with antimicrobial lysozyme speeds recovery from diarrhea.” Goat’s milk has antimicrobial qualities. But the goat milk in the study was genetically modified to produce higher levels of human antimicrobial protein.
Milk from goats that were genetically modified to produce higher levels of a human antimicrobial protein has proved effective in treating diarrhea in young pigs, demonstrating the potential for food products from transgenic animals to one day also benefit human health, report researchers at the University of California, Davis. Check out the sites, “Goat Milk Effective for Treating Diarrheal Diseases – Dairy Goat,” and “Transgenic goat milk could prevent diarrhea in developing world.”
Antimicrobial protein found in goat’s milk
The findings, slated to appear March 13 in the online scientific journal PLOS ONE, offer hope that such milk may eventually help prevent human diarrheal diseases that each year claim the lives of 1.8 million children around the world and impair the physical and mental development of millions more. Can goat’s milk replace cow’s milk for people allergic to cow’s milk?
“Many developing parts of the world rely on livestock as a main source of food,” said James Murray, a UC Davis animal science and veterinary medicine professor and lead researcher on the study. “These results provide just one example that, through genetic engineering, we can provide agriculturally relevant animals with novel traits targeted at solving some of the health-related problems facing these developing communities.”
In this study, Murray and colleagues fed young pigs milk from goats that were genetically modified to produce in their milk higher levels of lysozyme, a protein that naturally occurs in the tears, saliva and milk of all mammals.
Although lysozyme is produced at very high levels in human breast milk, the milk of goats and cows contains very little lysozyme, prompting the effort to boost lysozyme levels in the milk of those animals using genetic modification.
Because lysozyme limits the growth of some bacteria that cause intestinal infections and diarrhea and also encourages the growth of other beneficial intestinal bacteria, it is considered to be one of the main components of human milk that contribute to the health and well-being of breast-fed infants.
Pigs were chosen for this study as a research model because their gastrointestinal physiology is quite similar to humans, and because pigs already produce a moderate amount of lysozyme in their milk.
Half of the pigs in the study were fed pasteurized milk that came from the transgenic goats and carried greater amounts of lysozyme — 68 percent of the level found in human breast milk. The other half of the pigs were fed pasteurized milk that came from nontransgenic goats and thus contained very little lysozyme.
The study found that, although both groups of pigs recovered from the infection and resulting diarrhea, the young pigs fed the lysozyme-rich milk recovered much more quickly than did the young pigs that received goats’ milk without enhanced levels of lysozyme. Overall, the pigs fed the lysozyme milk were less dehydrated, had less intestinal inflammation, suffered less damage to the inner intestines and regained their energy more quickly than did the pigs in the control group. And, the researchers detected no adverse effects associated with the lysozyme-rich milk.
The lysozyme-enhanced milk used in this study came from a transgenic line of dairy goats developed in 1999 by Murray, co-author Elizabeth Maga and their colleagues to carry the gene for producing human lysozyme in their milk.
Other researchers on this study are: Caitlin Cooper, Lydia Garas Klobas and Elizabeth Maga, all of the UC Davis Department of Animal Science. Funding for the study was provided by the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the UC Agricultural Experiment Station.
Some people, including children allergic to cow’s milk can drink goat’s milk without similar symptoms of adverse reaction, according to a 2007 study from the Norwich BioScience Institutes. Check out the October 14, 2007 news release, “Animal food allergens unmasked.”
Evolutionary distance from human homologues reflects allergenicity of animal food proteins, according to a study by John A. Jenkins, and Heimo Breiteneder, E. N. Clare Mills. The study is published online by the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology on October 16 2007. www.jacionline.org
The relatedness of an animal food protein to a human protein determines whether it can cause allergy, according to research by scientists from the Institute of Food Research in Norwich and the Medical University of Vienna.
In theory all proteins have the potential to become allergens, but the study found that in practice the ability of animal food proteins to act as allergens depends on their evolutionary distance from a human equivalent. “This explains why people who are allergic to cow’s milk can often tolerate mare’s milk but not goat’s milk”, said Dr Clare Mills of the Institute of Food Research, according to the October 14, 2007 news release, Animal food allergens unmasked. “Proteins in horse milk are up to 66% identical to human milk proteins, while known allergens from cows and goats are all less than 53% identical to corresponding human proteins. “Overall we found that only an animal food protein that is less than 54% identical to a human equivalent could become allergenic.”
Cow’s milk and hen’s eggs are common causes of allergy in infants, while the most common animal food allergens in adults are fish and seafood. For the first time the researchers found that the majority of animal food allergens could be classified into one of three protein families. Tropomyosins, proteins found in muscle tissue, are the most important family.
“Tropomyosins in mammals, fish and birds are at least 90% identical to at least one human tropomyosin and none have been reported to be allergenic. In contrast, the allergenic tropomyosins are all from invertebrates such as insects, crustaceans and nematodes and at most are only 55% identical to the closest human homologue,” explained Dr Heimo Breiteneder of the Medical University of Vienna in the news release.
EF-hand proteins form the second largest animal food allergen family
Those in birds and mammals are not allergenic, while those in frogs and fish can cause allergy. The third animal food allergen family, caseins, are all mammalian proteins from milk. The researchers analysed milk from rabbits, rats and camels as well as sheep, goats, cows and horses. In previous analyses of plant food allergens published in 2005, the scientists found that most belong to a highly restricted number of protein superfamilies. The research will make it easier to identify new allergens and help explain how they trigger an immune response.
“Animal food proteins lie at the limits of the capability of the human immune system to discriminate between foreign and self proteins,” explained Dr Mills in the news release. “Immune responses to some animal food allergens such as the invertebrate tropomyosins, run close to becoming a form of autoimmune response and this needs to be considered when developing allergy therapies”.
The mission of the Institute of Food Research (www.ifr.ac.uk) is to undertake international quality scientific research relevant to food and human health and to work in partnership with others to provide underpinning science for consumers, policy makers, the food industry and academia. It is a company limited by guarantee, with charitable status, grant aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (www.bbsrc.ac.uk).
The Medical University of Vienna is one of the largest research institutions in Europe with more than 5,000 staff members including 2,800 academic staff and physicians. Founded 1365 as a faculty of the University of Vienna, the Medical University of Vienna is autonomous since 1 January 2004. Utilizing 40,000m² of research space and operating 31 clinics and 12 institutes the Medical University of Vienna achieved numerous breakthroughs in medical research with state-of-the-art equipment. Building on its research programs, educational facilities and curricula, the primary mission of the Medical University is to serve research and education in its broadest sense.
Can goat’s milk yogurt help some people?
In another study, a research work carried out at the Department of Microbiology of the University of Granada has carried out an analysis of the DNA extracted from different varieties of craft goat’s cheese, determining that most of them belong to the group of lactic bacteria, which could have important technological and functional properties, and be even beneficial for health. The doctoral thesis by Antonio M. Martín Platero has been supervised by Professors Manuel Martínez Bueno, Mercedes Maqueda and Eva Valdivia, and is the first research work carried out around Andalusian cheese through the combination of classic and molecular techniques and/or methodologies. Check out the January 28, 2009 news release, “Most bacteria from craft goat’s cheese come from lactic acid and could be beneficial for health.”
In order to carry out this work, they have analyzed four varieties of craft cheese from the Alpujarra (Granada), Jayena (Granada) and Aracena (Huelva). The microbiological analysis carried out at the University of Granada has revealed that this cheese possess between 107 and 109 bacteria per gram of cheese, and between 65 and 99 per cent of them are LAB (Lactic Acid Bacteria).
Lactic acid, beneficial for health Martín Platero highlights that this type of bacteria “could be especially beneficial for human health, as they cause fermentation in lactose, acidify the PH and therefore prevent development of pathogen microorganisms”. Part of the microorganisms produce numerous antimicrobial compounds of protein nature known as bacteriocines, very active substances against pathogens and other microorganisms which alter food. According to the study carried out at the UGR, the most abundant species found in such craft cheese are Lactobacillus paracasei, Lb. plantarum and Lactococcus lactis. The latter is one of the species most commonly found in yogurt.