Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 18, pp 18554–18564 | Cite as

The content of toxic elements in hair of dairy cows as an indicator of productivity and elemental status of animals

  • Sergey Miroshnikov
  • Oleg Zavyalov
  • Alexey FrolovEmail author
  • Ivan Sleptsov
  • Farit Sirazetdinov
  • Mikhail Poberukhin
Research Article


The study was conducted on a model of dairy cows of the Holstein breed. At the first stage of research, the elemental composition of cow hair was studied (n = 198). Based on this study, the percentile intervals of chemical elements concentrations in hair were established; values of 25 and 75 percentiles were determined, and they were considered as “physiological standard.” At the second stage, the elemental composition of hair from the upper part of withers of highly productive Holstein cows during the period of increasing milk yield was analyzed (n = 47). The elemental composition of biological substrates was studied according to 25 indicators, using the methods of atomic emission and mass spectrometry (AES-ICP and MS-ICP). An assessment of productivity parameters of cows depending on the level of toxic elements in hair revealed a negative statistically significant relationship with the level of lead. Lead content in hair was negatively correlated with the yield of fat (r = − 0.50), protein (r = − 0.37), and dry matter (r = − 0.48) in milk. Based on these data, cows were divided into three groups: group I, with Pb concentration in hair 0.0245–0.0449 mg/g, group II—between 0.0495 and 0.141 mg/kg, and in group III—between 0.145 and 0.247 mg/g. It was established that increasing Pb content decreases daily production of milk fat by 18.8 (P ≤ 0.05) and 25.3% (P ≤ 0.05), protein by 9.7 (P ≤ 0.05) and 10.7% (P ≤ 0.05), and dry matter by 8.0 and 13.0% (P ≤ 0.05) in cows. Average daily milk yield, adjusted for 1% of fat, decreased by 19.2 (P ≤ 0.05) and 25.3% (P ≤ 0.05), respectively. As the concentration of lead in hair increased, the content of toxic elements (Al, As, Cd, Hg, Pb, Sn, Sr) increased from 0.07 to 0.235 mmol/kg in group I, in group II from 0.082 to 0.266 mmol/kg, and in group III—from 0.126 to 0.337 mmol/kg. It was concluded that it is necessary to further study the use of physiological standard indicators of the content of toxic chemical elements in hair of dairy cows to increase productivity and maintain animal health and to create an effective system of individual health monitoring of highly productive cattle.


Cattle Holstein breed Hair Elemental status Milk yield Milk quality 


Author contributions

Sergey Miroshnikov developed the research and edited the manuscript; Oleg Zav’yalov and Alexey Frolov conducted research on the composition of milk and animal hair and wrote the main text of the manuscript; Ivan Sleptsov and Farit Sirazetdinov conducted research with animals and sampled animal biosubstrates; and Mikhail Poberukhin carried out statistical processing of the material obtained. All authors reviewed the manuscript.

Funding information

The research was made with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation No. 14-16-00060 P.

Compliance with ethical standards

The Local Ethics Committee of the Orenburg State University, Orenburg, Russia, has approved the report about this research. All studies of the animals were performed in accordance with the ethical standards laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki (1964) with later amendments.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sergey Miroshnikov
    • 1
    • 2
  • Oleg Zavyalov
    • 1
  • Alexey Frolov
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ivan Sleptsov
    • 3
  • Farit Sirazetdinov
    • 4
  • Mikhail Poberukhin
    • 1
  1. 1.Federal State Budget Scientific Institution“Federal Scientific Center for Biological Systems and Agricultural Technologies of the Russian Academy of Sciences”OrenburgRussia
  2. 2.FSBEI HPE “Orenburg State University”OrenburgRussia
  3. 3.FSBEI HE “Yakut State Agricultural Academy”YakutskRussia
  4. 4.Reference Center RosselkhoznadzorUfaRussia

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