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Biological Trace Element Research
Vol. 143, No: 2, 2011, Pages: 863 - 70

Heavy metals and other elements in serum of cattle from organic and conventional farms

Tomza-Marciniak A, Pilarczyk B, Bakowska M, Pilarczyk R, Wójcik J

Department of Animal Reproduction Biotechnology and Environmental Hygiene, West Pomeranian University of Technology in Szczecin, Judyma 6 Street, 71-466, Szczecin, Poland.


Concentrations of cadmium, lead, iron, zinc, copper, chromium, nickel, aluminium and arsenium were analysed in blood serum of cattle from organic (n=20) and conventional (n=21) farms. The elements were determined by inductively coupled plasma atomic emission spectrometry using an Optima 2000 DV instrument (Perkin Elmer Inc.). Animals from the organic farm were characterised by significantly lower (P<0.01) serum concentrations of Pb, Zn, Fe, Cu, Cr, Ni, As and Al compared to animals from the conventional farm. The concentration of Cd was similar in animals from both organic and conventional farms. The concentration of toxic elements in cattle from organic and conventional farms studied was very low. The trace essential elements were generally within the adequate ranges except Zn and Cu, which were deficient. In organically reared animals, also serum Fe content was below the critical level for diagnosing iron deficiency. Pb was significantly correlated with Cd, Zn, Fe, Cu and Ni. A significant positive correlation between the concentration of Cd and Zn, Cu and Ni concentrations was only observed in cows from the organic farm. The present results suggest that organically raised animals are less exposed to harmful environmental influences such as the environmental pollution with heavy metals. On the other hand, these animals are at a greater risk of mineral deficiency compared to animals kept on conventional farms.



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