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PLoS One. 2014 Jan 21;9(1):e85300. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085300. eCollection 2014.

Trace element distribution in selected edible tissues of zebu (Bos indicus) cattle slaughtered at Jimma, SW Ethiopia.

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  • 1Laboratory of Animal Nutrition, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.
  • 2Departemento de Patoloxía Animal, Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, Lugo, Spain.
  • 3Department of Comparative Physiology and Biometrics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.
  • 4Laboratory of Analytical Chemistry and Applied Ecochemistry Ghent University, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent, Belgium.
  • 5School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine of Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia ; M-team and Mastitis Quality Research Unit, Department of Reproduction, Obstetrics, and Herd Health, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Ghent University, Merelbeke, Belgium.
  • 6Adjunct Faculty, Division of Animal Sciences, University of Missouri-Columbia, Columbia, Missouri, United States of America.
  • 7Clinic for Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife, Vetsuisse Faculty, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


The amount of trace elements present in edible bovine tissues is of importance for both animal health and human nutrition. This study presents data on trace element concentrations in semitendinosus and cardiac muscles, livers and kidneys of 60 zebu (Bos indicus) bulls, sampled at Jimma, Ethiopia. From 28 of these bulls, blood samples were also obtained. Deficient levels of copper were found in plasma, livers, kidneys and semitendinosus muscles. Suboptimal selenium concentrations were found in plasma and semitendinosus muscles. Semitendinosus muscles contained high iron concentrations. Trace elements were mainly stored in the liver, except for iron and selenium. Cardiac muscles generally contained higher concentrations of trace elements than semitendinous muscles except for zinc. A strong association was found between liver and kidney concentrations of copper, iron, cobalt and molybdenum. Liver storage was well correlated with storage in semitendinosus muscle for selenium and with cardiac muscle for cobalt and selenium. Plasma concentrations of copper, selenium, cobalt were well related with their respective liver concentrations and for cobalt and selenium, also with cardiac muscle concentrations. The data suggest multiple trace element deficiencies in zebu cattle in South-West Ethiopia, with lowered tissue concentrations as a consequence. Based on the comparison of our data with other literature, trace element concentrations in selected edible tissues of Bos indicus seem quite similar to those in Bos taurus. However, tissue threshold values for deficiency in Bos taurus cattle need to be refined and their applicability for Bos indicus cattle needs to be evaluated.

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