The Journal of Agricultural Science


The transfer of 73As, 109Cd and 203Hg to the milk and tissues of dairy cattle

N. M. J. CROUT a1c1, N. A. BERESFORD a2, J. M. DAWSON a1, J. SOAR a1 and R. W. MAYES a3
a1 School of Biosciences, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE12 5RD, UK
a2 Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Merlewood Research Station, Grange-over-Sands, Cumbria, LA11 6JU, UK
a3 Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, Craigiebuckler, Aberdeen, Scotland, AB15 8QH, UK

Article author query
crout nm   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
beresford na   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
dawson jm   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
soar j   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
mayes rw   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


By a variety of exposure routes it is possible that the toxic heavy metals cadmium, arsenic and mercury could enter the diet of farm animals and hence contaminate food products derived from those animals. Therefore, there is a need to be able to assess the likely levels of contamination in animal tissues if exposed to contaminated feed and also to estimate how rapidly an animal will decontaminate once the source of contamination is removed from the feed. The development of dynamic models to predict changes in the degree of heavy metal contamination in tissues of ruminants have been hindered by the lack of data on the transfer and excretion rates of these metals from tissues. A study is described during which dairy cows were given a single intraruminal administration of 109Cd, 73As and 203Hg and measurements made of the subsequent concentrations of the radioisotopes in body tissues and milk. The resultant data were used to adapt previously developed compartment models describing the behaviour of the metals in sheep for use with dairy cows. Two changes were made to the sheep models: (i) a new excretion route was included to describe transfer to milk; (ii) the rate coefficients (with the exception of those involving gut absorption and transfer) were adjusted according to the ratio of the metabolic live-weights (live-weight (kg)0·75) of the sheep to that of the cattle. The models predicted levels of the metals in the cattle tissues and milk reasonably well.

(Received March 1 2004)

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