A survey on composition and microbiota of fresh and fermented yak milk at different Tibetan altitudes

X.H. Wu, Z. Luo, L. Yu, F.Z. Ren, B.Z. Han, M.J.R. Nout

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Yak milk is a type of milk that people are less familiar with due to its remote geographical location, the particular geographical environment and climatic conditions in Tibet, which may have significant effects on composition, microbiota and fermentation outcome. To investigate the chemical composition and microbiota of fresh and fermented yak milk, and to isolate and characterize the predominant microorganisms in the fermented milk, yak milk (24 fresh and 30 fermented milk samples) was collected from four areas of different altitudes in Tibet, and their microbiological profile and chemical composition were investigated. Yak milk had a higher fat, crude protein, lactose and dry matter content than cow milk. The fermented yak milk showed a great diversity in fat and dry matter levels due to the different ways of processing in different localities, and lower pH and higher lactic acid content compared with commercial cow milk yogurt. Fermented yak milk had a better sanitary quality than fresh yak milk. Three species of lactobacilli (Lactobacillus fermentum, Lactobacillus helveticus and Lactobacillus curvatus) and five species of yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Candida kefyr, Candida lambica, Candida famat and Candida holmii) were identified phenotypically and encountered as predominant fermentation microbiota. The predominant lactic species in fermented milk was L. fermentum
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-209
JournalDairy Science and Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • lactic-acid bacteria
  • dairy-products
  • yeasts
  • identification
  • growth


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