A proteomics study of colostrum and milk from the two major small ruminant dairy breeds from the Canary Islands: a bovine milk comparison perspective

J Dairy Res. 2016 Aug;83(3):366-74. doi: 10.1017/S0022029916000273.


Colostrum and milk feeding are key factors for the newborn ruminant survival, affecting the future performance of the animal. Nowadays, there is an increasing interest in the potential of feeding newborn ruminants (mainly goat kids and lambs) with colostrum and milk from other more productive ruminant species (mainly cows). Although some studies regarding differences between colostrum and milk from these three species have been performed, herein we conduct for the first time a comparison using a proteomics 2-Dimensional Electrophoresis gel-based approach between these three ruminant species. In this study colostrum and milk samples from six Holstein cows, six Canarian sheep and six Majorera goats were used to determine the chemical composition, immunoglobulin G (IgG) and M (IgM) concentrations and proteomics profiles. Results showed that in general sheep colostrum and milk contained higher fat, protein and lactose percentages compared to bovine and goat samples. Additionally, no differences in the IgG or IgM concentrations were found among any of the three studied species, with the exception of sheep colostrum that showed the highest IgM concentration. With reference to the proteomics-based approach, some high abundant proteins such as serum albumin precursor, beta-caseins or different immunoglobulins components were found in colostrum, milk or even both. Nevertheless, differences in other proteins with immune function such as serotransferrin or lactoperoxidase were detected. This study shows that despite the similar immunoglobulin concentrations in colostrum and milk from the three studied species, differences in several immune components can be detected when these samples are studied using a proteomics approach. Finally, this study also provides a base for future investigation in colostrum and milk proteomics and metabolomics.

Keywords: colostrum; immune; milk; proteomics; small ruminants.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Cattle
  • Colostrum / chemistry*
  • Dairying
  • Female
  • Goats*
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Lactoperoxidase / analysis
  • Milk / chemistry*
  • Milk / immunology
  • Milk Proteins / analysis
  • Proteomics*
  • Sheep*
  • Spain
  • Species Specificity
  • Transferrin / analysis


  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Milk Proteins
  • Transferrin
  • Lactoperoxidase