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Copper, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Cobalt, Arsenic, Cadmium, Chrome, and Lead Concentrations in Liver and Muscle in Iranian Camel (Camelus dromedarius)


Camel meat as healthy food has received much attention for human consumption. In the present study, liver and muscle from 60 camels (Camelus dromedarius) including 26 males and 34 females were sampled to determine the concentration of As, Cd, Pb, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Zn, and Co using the inductively coupled plasma-optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). Based on the obtained results, the average content of essential or toxic elements in the liver and muscle was as follows: 111.2 ± 26.51, 38.57 ± 7.97 (Zn), 3.28 ± 0.79, 2.12 ± 0.49 (Cu), 76.98 ± 14.20, 59.34 ± 11.81 (Fe), 0.87 ± 0.22, 0.48 ± 0.12 (Mn), 0.52 ± 0.27, 0.03 ± 0.01 (Co), ND ± 0.008, 0.012 ± 0.008 (Cd), 7.06 ± 1.58, 3.90 ± 0.86 (Cr), 0.85 ± 0.043, and 0.18 ± 0.02, and 1.12 ± 0.21 (As) mg kg-1. Pb concentration was lower than the detection limit (ND). The results showed that the liver concentrations of Cu, Zn, Fe, Mn, Co, and Cr were significantly higher than those in the muscle. The association of sex, age, region, and sampling period, with a concentration of these elements, revealed that concentration of zinc in the liver and cobalt in the muscle were significantly higher in the male. Also, significantly higher cobalt and zinc concentrations in muscle were seen in the first 6 months of the year. Age-related differences in muscle concentrations were observed for cobalt. The concentration of trace elements and heavy metals in the liver and muscle samples were not correlated. Comparison of heavy metals concentration in both tissues with European Commission regulation showed that except Cd, the other heavy metals had a higher level than the EU standard. The results of this study showed that camel meat can be contaminated with heavy metals, but more investigations are needed.

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The authors would like to thank the laboratory staff of the veterinary department for technical help. Industrial slaughterhouses veterinarians for sampling process assistance gratefully acknowledged.


The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This work was supported by the Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, (grant number 3/41607).

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Asli, M., Azizzadeh, M., Moghaddamjafari, A. et al. Copper, Iron, Manganese, Zinc, Cobalt, Arsenic, Cadmium, Chrome, and Lead Concentrations in Liver and Muscle in Iranian Camel (Camelus dromedarius). Biol Trace Elem Res 194, 390–400 (2020).

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  • Trace elements
  • Heavy metals
  • Liver
  • Muscle
  • Food safety