Changes in composition of colostrum of Egyptian buffaloes and Holstein cows

BMC Vet Res. 2012 Mar 5;8:19. doi: 10.1186/1746-6148-8-19.


Background: Changes in colostrum composition of Egyptian buffaloes and Holstein cows collected at calving, 6, 12, 24, 48, 72, 96, 120 h and after 14 days of parturition were studied. Total solids, total protein, whey proteins, fat, lactose and ash contents were determined. Macro- and micro-elements, IgG, IgM, IGF-1, lactoferrin and vitamins (A and E) were also estimated.

Results: At calving, the total protein and whey proteins concentration did not differ between buffalo and cow colostrum, while total solids, fat, lactose and ash concentrations were higher in buffalo than in cow colostrum. All components decreased gradually as the transition period advanced except lactose which conversely increased. On the fifth day post-partum, concentration of total protein, whey proteins, fat, ash and total solids decreased by 69.39, 91.53, 36.91, 45.58 and 43.85% for buffalo and by 75.99, 94.12, 53.36, 33.59 and 52.26% for cow colostrum. However, lactose concentration increased by 42.45% for buffalo and 57.39% for cow colostrum. The macro-and micro-elements concentration of both colostrums tended to decline slightly toward normality on the fifth day of parturition. Buffalo colostrum had a higher concentration of vitamin E than cow colostrum during the experimental period. At calving, the concentration of vitamin A in buffalo colostrum was found to be approximately 1.50 times lower than in cow colostrum. The concentrations of IgG, IgM, IGF-1 and lactoferrin decreased by 97.90, 97.50, 96.25 and 96.70% for buffalo and 76.96, 74.92, 76.00 and 77.44% for cow colostrum, respectively after five days of parturition.

Conclusions: There is a dramatic change in buffalo and cow colostrum composition from the first milking until the fifth day of parturition. There are differences between buffalo and cow colostrum composition during the five days after calving. The composition of both colostrums approaches to those of normal milk within five days after parturition.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Buffaloes / physiology*
  • Cattle / physiology*
  • Colostrum / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Lactation / physiology
  • Postpartum Period
  • Time