Die Bodenkultur - Journal for Land Management, Food and Environment

M. Sager, M. Grüner and H. Würzner:

Contents of a selection of trace elements in liver and kidney samples from farmed animals


Livers and kidneys of farmed animals were frozen immediately after slaughtering, homogenized, and some toxic and essential trace elements (Pb, Cd, As, Hg, Cu, Zn) determined on dry weight basis. They were regarded as target organs for contamination from feedstuffs and the environment, as well as for indication of adequate load with essential trace elements Cu and Zn. The Pb and As levels were partially below detection limits, and also Hg levels were low. Compared with literature data, hardly contaminations with Pb, As, or Hg were detected. No hints were found for Hg contaminations, like from feeding with processed fish. With respect to human nutrition, the respective load of Pb, As and Hg from vegetarian food would be higher than from inner organs. Compared with other sources of food, Cd, Zn and Cu was accumulated, however. With respect to data from animals farmed in other countries, free living animals or men, top values were not found, but steady intake of inner organs would significantly contribute to the load of Cd, Cu and Zn of human nutrition. Whereas elevated levels of Cu and Zn could be valuable for rather low supplied men, high Cd levels, especially in bovine kidneys, are of concern. Interrelations among the 6 trace elements determined within the same samples showed rather more correlations among the toxicants. In spite of simultaneous supplementation of Cu and Zn, significant correlation was only found for poultry liver.

Key words:  trace elements, liver, kidney, contamination, nutrition.