Cow and camel milk-derived whey and casein protein hydrolysates demonstrated effective antifungal properties against selected Candida species

J Dairy Sci. 2022 Mar;105(3):1878-1888. doi: 10.3168/jds.2021-20944. Epub 2021 Dec 23.


Bioactive peptides derived from milk proteins are widely known to possess antibacterial activities. Even though the antibacterial effects of milk-derived peptides are widely characterized, not much focus is given to their antifungal characterization. Therefore, in this study, we investigated the antifungal properties of camel and cow whey and casein hydrolysates against various species of pathogenic Candida. The hydrolysates were produced using 2 enzymes (alcalase and protease) at differing hydrolysis durations (2, 4, and 6 h) and tested for their antifungal properties. The results showed that intact cow whey and casein proteins did not display any anti-Candida albicans properties, whereas the alcalase-derived 2 h camel casein hydrolysate (CA-C-A2) displayed a higher percentage of inhibition against Candida albicans (93.69 ± 0.26%) followed by the cow casein hydrolysate generated by protease-6 h (Co-C-P6; 81.66 ± 0.99%), which were significantly higher than that of fluconazole, a conventional antifungal agent (76.92 ± 4.72%). Interestingly, when tested again Candida krusei, camel casein alcalase 2 and 4 h (CA-C-A2 and CA-C-A4), and cow whey alcalase-6 h (CO-W-A6) hydrolysates showed higher antifungal potency than fluconazole. However, for Candida parapsilosis only camel casein alcalase-4 h (Ca-C-A4) and cow casein protease-6 h (Co-C-P6) hydrolysates were able to inhibit the growth of C. parapsilosis by 19.31 ± 0.84% and 23.82 ± 4.14%, respectively, which was lower than that shown by fluconazole (29.86 ± 1.11%). Overall, hydrolysis of milk proteins from both cow and camel enhanced their antifungal properties. Camel milk protein hydrolysates were more potent in inhibiting pathogenic Candida species as compared with cow milk protein hydrolysates. This is the first study that highlights the antifungal properties of camel milk protein hydrolysates.

Keywords: Candida; antifungal activity; bioactive peptides; camel milk hydrolysates; cow milk hydrolysates.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology
  • Camelus / metabolism
  • Candida
  • Caseins* / metabolism
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Milk / metabolism
  • Milk Proteins / metabolism
  • Protein Hydrolysates* / chemistry
  • Whey / metabolism
  • Whey Proteins / metabolism


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Caseins
  • Milk Proteins
  • Protein Hydrolysates
  • Whey Proteins