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Milk trace elements in lactating cows environmentally exposed to higher level of lead and cadmium around different industrial units

Patra, R.C., Swarup, D., Kumar, P., Nandi, D., Naresh, R., Ali, S.L.
Science of the total environment 2008 v.404 no.1 pp. 36-43
milk, trace elements, toxic substances, heavy metals, blood, pollutants
The present investigation was carried out to assess the trace mineral profile of milk from lactating cows reared around different industrial units and to examine the effect of blood and milk concentration of lead and cadmium on copper, cobalt, zinc and iron levels in milk. Respective blood and milk samples were collected from a total of 201 apparently healthy lactating cows above 3 years of age including 52 cows reared in areas supposed to be free from pollution. The highest milk lead (0.85±0.11 μg/ml) and cadmium (0.23±0.02 μg/ml) levels were recorded in lactating cows reared around lead-zinc smelter and steel manufacturing plant, respectively. Significantly (P <0.05) higher concentration of milk copper, cobalt, zinc and iron compared to control animals was recorded in cows around closed lead cum operational zinc smelter. Analysis of correlation between lead and other trace elements in milk from lactating cows with the blood lead level>0.20 μg/ml (n =79) revealed a significant negative correlations between milk iron and milk lead (r =-0.273, P =0.015). However, such trend was not recorded with blood lead level<0.20 μg/ml (n =122). The milk cobalt concentration was significantly correlated (r =0.365, P <0.001) with cadmium level in milk and the highest milk cadmium (>0.10 to 0.39 μg/ml) group had significantly (P <0.05) increased milk cobalt. It is concluded that increased blood and milk lead or cadmium level as a result of natural exposure of lactating cows to these environmental toxicants significantly influences trace minerals composition of milk and such alterations affect the milk quality and nutritional values.