Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 559–569 | Cite as

Zinc, copper, cadmium, and lead levels in cattle tissues in relation to different metal levels in ground water and soil

  • Anatoly V. Skalny
  • Elena V. Salnikova
  • Tatiana I. Burtseva
  • Margarita G. Skalnaya
  • Alexey A. TinkovEmail author
Research Article


The objective of the present study was to investigate the interaction between environmental (water and soil) levels of zinc, copper, cadmium, and lead levels, as well as their content in Hereford beef cattle tissues in five districts (D1—western area, D2 and D3—central area, D4 and D5—eastern area) of the Orenburg region. Soil metal levels were assessed using atomic emission spectrometry, whereas water and tissue (liver, kidney, muscle, heart) metal content was studied using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. The obtained data demonstrate that the highest levels Zn in soil and water (p < 0.001), as well as cattle muscle, liver, and kidney (p < 0.05) were observed in D4 and D5 (eastern area), exceeding the maximum permissible concentration levels (MPCL) for drinking water and muscle for all regions. Similar associations were found for Cu levels. The highest soil and water Cd and Pb content were observed in D2 (central area) and D5 (eastern area), respectively. At the same time, cattle tissue Cd and Pb content did not correspond to the respective environmental levels. Correlation analysis demonstrated that water and soil Zn and Cu content directly correlated with muscle, liver, and kidney, but not heart metal content. At the same time, water Cd levels were negatively interrelated with muscle cadmium content but correlated directly with hepatic metal content. Both water and soil Pb levels positively correlated with renal metal levels in cattle. In turn, soil lead content was inversely associated with muscle metal levels. Regression analysis also demonstrated a significant association between environmental and tissue levels of Zn and Cu. The models adjusted for all studied elements demonstrated a significant effect of metal interaction on tissue metal levels. Hypothetically, excessive environmental Zn, and possibly Cu, levels may affect the uptake of heavy metals including Cd and Pb from the environment.


Soil Water Copper Cattle Zinc Cadmium 



The present study was supported by the Orenburg region government (Agreement No. 26, 31.07.2018).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Orenburg State UniversityOrenburgRussia
  2. 2.Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)MoscowRussia
  3. 3.Yaroslavl State UniversityYaroslavlRussia
  4. 4.IM Sechenov First Moscow State Medical UniversityMoscowRussia

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