Content of mineral elements in milk and hair of cows from organic farms

Wydanie: 2 / 2010


  • Gabryszuk M., Słoniewski K., Metera E., Sakowski T.

Kategorie: Fisheries and animal bioengineering , Medicine and veterinary

DOI: 10.5601/jelem.2010.15.2.259-267


The value of the routine analyses, applied until present, of whole blood, serum andurine for bioelements is limited. The blood mineral level does not often correspond to thecontent of minerals in the whole body because the composition of plasma results fromsupplementation of deficiencies by different homeostatic mechanisms. Moreover, the bloodconcentration of bioelements is relatively low and depends on a current diet, therefore thediagnostic value of such analytical results may be fairly small. Studies have shown thatthe analysis of hair and nails are an appropriate alternative for blood and urine tests orfor biopsy. Chemical treatments in agriculture, animal production and food processing introducemany food contaminants into the food chain. Organic methods in agriculture aresafer and therefore very important. Nutrition based on organically produced foods and anthroposophiclifestyle can play an important role in health prophylaxis The objective of thisstudy was to determine correlations between concentrations of 29 major and trace elementsin cow’s milk and hair. The experimental material consisted of 33 cows of PolishHolstein-Fresian (HF) breed from three dairy organic farms. All the farms were located inone climatic zone and under similar soil conditions. The cows were kept in traditional tiedupbarns. The feeding was traditional, with ration components given separately. The cowswere grazed from May to October. Depending on pasture yield and availability of otherfeeds, the feeding ration was supplemented with hay, straw, silage and cereals. Samples ofmilk and hair for analyses of minerals were collected in September, i.e. during the pasturefeeding. The hair was taken from the poll. The concentration of Ca, K, Mg, Na, P, S, B,Ba, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Ge, I, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, Se, Si, Sn, Sr, V, Zn, Al, As, Cd, Hg, Pb wasdetermined. The content of toxic elements in milk was low and below the admissible level.The statistically significant positive correlations between concentration in milk and in hairwere detected for such elements as Ba, Ge, Mo and Pb. In the case of major elements Kand Mg and trace elements Al, As, Co, Fe, Hg, Se, Sr, positive correlations were observedbut they were not statistically significant. Negative correlations occurred for such elements as Cr, Cu, I, Li, Ni, S, Si, Sn, V and Zn. It was only for V and Zn that they were statisticallysignificant. Very low values (near zero) of coefficient r were observed for Ca, Cd, Li, Mn, Na, Ni, P, S and Sn. It seems that broader investigations of mineral composition ofcow’s hair could be useful for establishing reference values for some elements and wouldmake a contribution to better animals’ welfare.


Gabryszuk M., Słoniewski K., Metera E., Sakowski T. 2010.  Content of mineral elements in milk and hair of cows from organic farms. J. Elem. 15(2): 259-267.

Słowa kluczowe:

cow, hair, milk, macro- and microelements, organic farms

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