Springer Nature is making Coronavirus research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Transference factors as a tool for the estimation of arsenic milk concentration


The Chaco Pampean Plain of central Argentina represents one of the largest regions with high levels of arsenic (As) in groundwater. The aim of this study was the assessment of a biotransference factor (BTF) as a tool for the estimation of As concentration in cow’s milk from As drinking water concentration. Total As content in livestock drinking water, soil, forage, and milk was determined in farms located in an area of high As groundwater, in order to analyze the relation between As uptake and its transfer to milk. The concentrations of As in milk ranged from 0.5 to 8.0 μg/L. From the results obtained, drinking water may be considered the main source of exposure to As, and the biotransference factor for milk ranges from 1.5 × 10−5 to 4.3 × 10−4. Therefore, BTF provides a simple tool for the estimation of arsenic levels in milk through the As livestock drinking water content.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3


  1. Adriano D (2001) Trace elements in terrestrial environments: biogeochemistry, bioavailability, and risks of metals. Ed. Springer –Verlag, Snd ed., New York

  2. Alvarado J (1996) Microwave dissolution of plant tissue and the subsequent determination of trace lantanides ICP-MS. Anal Chim Acta 322:11–20

  3. APHA (1993) Standard methods for the examination of water and wastes. American Public Health Association, Washington DC

  4. Bates M, Smith A, Hopenhayn-Rich C (1992) Arsenic ingestion and internal cancers: a review. Am J Epidemiol 135:462–476

  5. Bavera G, Rodriguez E, Beguet H, Bocco O, Sanchez J (2001) Water and watering places. Ed Hemisferio Sur, Buenos Aires, Argentina (in Spanish)

  6. Beni C, Diana G, Marconi S (2008) Bovine milk chain in Italian farms. I. Arsenic levels in soil, gravitational and clean water, bovine diet, and milk. Agrochimica 52:99–115

  7. Bhattacharya P, Welch AH, Stollenwerk KG, McLaughlin MJ, Bundschuh J, Panaullah G (2007) Arsenic in the environment: biology and chemistry. Sci Total Environ 379:109–265

  8. Biagini R, Salvador M, Querio R, Torres Soruco C, Biagini M, Diez Barrantes A (1995) HACRE: diagnosed cases in the period 1972–1993 Argentine. Arch Dermatol 45:47–52 (in Spanish)

  9. Cervera ML, Lopez JC, Montoro R (1994) Arsenic content of Spanish cows’ milk determined by dry ashing hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry. J Dairy Res 61:83–89

  10. Di Rienzo JA, Casanoves F, Balzarini MG, Gonzalez L, Tablada M, Robledo CW (2015) InfoStat versión. Grupo InfoStat, FCA, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina. URL:

  11. SENASA (National Health Service and Food Quality) (2009) National plan of waste control and food hygiene. (in Spanish)

  12. Ghosh A, Majumder S, Awal MA, Rao DR (2013) Arsenic exposure to dairy cows in Bangladesh. Arch Environ Contam Toxicol 64:151–159

  13. Hopenhayn-Rich C, Biggs M, Fuchs A, Bergoglio R, Tello E, Nicolli H, Smith A (1996) Bladder cancer mortality associated with arsenic in drinking water in Argentina. Epidemiology 7(2):117–123

  14. Ibañez S (2007) Evaluación preliminar, en bovino y caprino, de la relación de la ingesta de arsénico y el contenido total del elemento en leche y queso. Universidad de Tarapacá, Arica, Chile, Tesis

  15. International Dairy Federation (1986) Levels of trace elements in milk and milk products. Questionnaire 2386/E. IDF, Brussels

  16. Kabata Pendias A, Pendias H (1992) Trace elements in soils and plants, 2nd edn. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Ann Arbor, London, pp 203–209

  17. Kertulis GM, Ma LQ, MacDonald GE, Chen R, Winefordner JD, Cia Y (2005) Arsenic speciation and transport in Pteris vittata L. and the effects on phosphorous in the xylem sap. Environ Exp Bot 54:239–247

  18. Kloke A, Sauerbeck D, Vetter H (1984) The contamination of plants and soils with heavy metals and the transport of metals in terrestrial food chains. In: Nriagu J (ed) Changing metal cycles and human health. Springer, Berlín, pp 113–141

  19. Kroner SM, Cozzie DA (1999) Data collection for the hazardous waste identification rule section 10.0 farm food chain and terrestrial foodweb data. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Washington DC, p 46pp

  20. Law 24.051. 1993. Regime for hazardous wastes. Argentine. National. Decree 831/93. (in Spanish)

  21. Licata P, Trombetta D, Cristiani M, Giofre F, Martino D, Calo M, Naccari F (2004) Levels of “toxic” and “essential” metals in samples of bovine milk from various dairy farms in Calabria, Italy. Environ Int 30:1–6

  22. Mandal K, Suzuki K (2002) Arsenic round the world: a review. Talanta 58:201–235

  23. Navoni JA, De Pietri D, Olmos V, Gimenez C, Mitre GB, de Titto E, Lepori EV (2014) Human health risk assessment with spatial analysis: study of a population chronically exposed to arsenic through drinking water from Argentina. Sci Total Environ 499:166–174

  24. Nicolli H, Suriano J, Gomez Peral M, Ferpozzi L, Baleani O (1989) Groundwater contamination with arsenic and other trace elements in an area of the Pampa, Province of Cordoba, Argentina. Environ Geol Water Sci 14:3–16

  25. Pérez-Carrera A, Fernández-Cirelli A (2005) Arsenic concentration in water and bovine milk in Cordoba, Argentina. Preliminary results. J Dairy Res 72:122–124

  26. Pou SA, Osella AR, del Pilar DM (2011) Bladder cancer mortality trends and patterns in Córdoba, Argentina (1986–2006). Cancer Causes Control 22:407–415

  27. Rana T, Bera AK, Das S, Bhattacharya D, Pan D, Das SK (2014) Subclinical arsenicosis in cattle in arsenic endemic area of West Bengal, India. Toxicol Ind Health 30:328–335

  28. Rosas I, Belmont R, Armienta A, Baez A (1999) Arsenic concentrations in water, soil, milk and forage in Comarca Lagunera, Mexico. Water Air Soil Pollut 112:133–149

  29. Schoof RA, Yost LJ, Eickhoff J, Crecelius EA, Cragin DW, Meacher DM, Menzel DB (1999) A market basket survey of inorganic arsenic in food. Food Chem Toxicol 37:839–846

  30. Sigrist M, Beldoménico H, Repetti MR (2010) Evaluation of the influence of arsenical livestock drinking waters on total arsenic levels in cow’s raw milk from Argentinean dairy farms. Food Chem 121:487–491

  31. Smedley PL, Kinniburg D (2002) A review of the source, behaviour and distribution of arsenic in natural waters. Appl Geochem 17:517–568

  32. Smedley PL, Nicolli HB, Barros AJ, Tullio JO (1998) Origin and mobility of arsenic in groundwater from the Pampean Plain, Argentina. In: Arehart GB, Hulston JR (Eds.), Water-Rock Interaction. Proc. 9th International Symp., Taupo, New Zealand. Balkema, Rotterdam, p 275–278

  33. Smedley PL, Nicolli HB, Macdonald DM, Barros AJ, Tullio JO (2002) Hydrogeochemistry of arsenic and other inorganic constituents in groundwaters from La Pampa, Argentina. Appl Geochem 17:259–284

  34. Stevens J (1991) Disposition of toxic metals in the agricultural food chain. 1. Steady-state bovine milk biotransfer factors. Environ Sci Technol 25:1289–1294

  35. Temiz H, Soylu A (2012) Heavy metal concentrations in raw milk collected from different regions of Samsun, Turkey. Int J Dairy Technol 65:516–522

  36. U.S. EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). (1997) Parameter guidance document. EPA, National Center for Environmental Assessment, NCEA-0238

  37. USDA (1996) Soil survey laboratory methods manual. Soil survey investigation report N° 42. Versión 3.0. 693 pp. Washington DC, USA

  38. Waldner DN, Looper ML (2007) Water for dairy cattle. Cooperative extension service, New Mexico State University. Guide D-107, USA, p 1–5

  39. Warren G, Alloway B, Lepp N, Singh B, Bochereau F, Penny C (2003) Field trials to assess the uptake of arsenic by vegetables from contaminated soils and soil remediation with iron oxides. Sci Total Environ 31:19–33

  40. WHO (World Health Organization) (2001) Environmental health criteria 224, Arsenic and arsenic compounds. Inter-organization programme for the sound management of chemicals. Geneva

  41. Wilkins C, Salter L (2003) Arsenic hyperaccumulation in ferns: a review. Royal society of chemistry, environmental chemistry group bulletin, p 8–10

  42. Yost LJ, Schoof RA, Aucoin R (1998) Intake of inorganic arsenic in the North American diet. Hum Ecol Risk Assess 4:137–152

Download references


Authors are indebted to the University of Buenos Aires and to CONICET (National Research Council) for financial support.

Author information

Correspondence to Alicia Fernández-Cirelli.

Additional information

Responsible editor: Philippe Garrigues

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Pérez-Carrera, A., Alvarez-Gonçalvez, C.V. & Fernández-Cirelli, A. Transference factors as a tool for the estimation of arsenic milk concentration. Environ Sci Pollut Res 23, 16329–16335 (2016).

Download citation


  • Arsenic
  • Biotransference
  • Milk
  • Drinking water
  • Biotransference factor
  • Cattle