Biological Monitoring of an Agricultural Food Chain: Soil Cadmium and Lead in Ruminant Tissues
- Eugene Brams *,
- William Anthony and
- Lindsey Weatherspoon
Low-level contamination of a sandy soil with toxicants Cd and Pb at 0.01 to 9.0 and 3.0 to 54.0 mg kg−1 soil induced a significant toxicant accumulation in sudan-sorghum hay [Sorghum sudanense (Piper) Stapf-S. bicolor (L.) Moench] (0.5–5.0 and 0.2–1.5 mg kg−1 dry biomass), respectively. Ingestion of 22 to 222 mg Cd kg−1 body wt. by pregnant dairy goats (Capra hircus) from the consumption of hay over 98 d resulted in a significant, but relatively diminutive accumulation of Cd in the doe livers (0.01–0.02 mg kg−1) and brain cortex (0.002–0.007 mg kg−1) fresh wt., but not in doe kidneys and blood averaging 0.028 and 0.002 mg Cd kg−1 fresh tissues, respectively. Fetal blood and liver accumulated 2.0 and 4.0 mg Cd kg−1 fresh tissue, respectively, and fetal kidney exhibited a weak response (0.03–0.47 mg Cd kg−1 fresh tissue) to Cd ingested by the pregnant does. Consumption of 240 to 1230 µg Pb kg−1 body wt. induced 1.0 to 43.0 mg Pb kg−1 fresh tissue in the doe brain cerebellum, but not in the doe liver and blood averaging 0.09 and 0.017 mg Pb kg−1 fresh tissue, respectively. Fetal liver and blood averaged 0.043 and 0.014 mg Pb kg−1 tissue. Only minuscule amounts of soil Cd and Pb were retained in the select animal tissues via the ingestion of this hay. Only one-ten-millionth of labile soil Cd and Pb, respectively, accumulated in the select tissues of the pregnant does via the hay pathway. All these amounts were comparable to the norm. If these select animal tissues were used as food, no deleterious effect to human health should be induced.
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