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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2010

Non-essential and essential trace element concentrations in meat from cattle reared under organic, intensive or conventional production systems

Blanco-Penedo, I.; Lopez-Alonso, M.; Miranda, M.; Hernandez, J.; Prieto, F.; Shore, R. F.


We evaluated if differences in non-essential and essential trace element accumulation in beef-cattle reared under different systems (including organic, conventional and intensive management) were reflected in the meat derived from these animals. Diaphragm muscle from 166 calves from nine farms were analysed. Muscle cadmium concentrations were low (10 mu g/kg wet weight) and muscle arsenic, mercury and lead levels were below the limits of detection (12, 2 and 3 mu g/kg, respectively) in most (77-97%) samples; there were no significant differences between farms. Essential trace element concentrations in muscle were generally within adequate physiological ranges and, although they varied significantly between farms, this was not apparently related to management practices. There were no significant correlations in element concentrations between muscle and liver or kidney (organ concentrations that better reflect exposure), except for cobalt (positive association) and zinc (negative association). Non-essential and essential trace element concentrations in muscle in the studied animals did not generally reflect differences in exposure. This is particularly relevant for animals reared in systems (such as organic farms) where cattle are exposed to higher levels of non-essential elements (probably due to soil ingestion when grazing) but also can suffer from mineral deficiencies.


metals analysis; ICP; toxicology; animal study; toxic elements; trace elements; animal products; meat

Published in

Food Additives and Contaminants: Part A: Chemistry, Analysis, Control, Exposure and Risk Assessment
2010, Volume: 27, number: 1, pages: 36-42

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