Bioaccumulation of Zinc and Copper in Tissues of Chicken Fed Corn Grain Irrigated with Different Water Regimes

  • Zill E Huma
  • Zafar Iqbal Khan
  • Ijaz Rasool Noorka
  • Kafeel Ahmad
  • Ali R. Bayat
  • Kinza WajidEmail author
Research paper


Water scarcity in agriculture sector enforces farmers to apply urban waste water without considering its pollutant effects on the environment. The aim of present research was to observe the effect of sewage, canal and ground water on accumulation of zinc (Zn) and copper (Cu) in different parts of corn plants and also in tissues of chicken that were reared on grains of corn crop in two growing seasons, spring and autumn during 2016. Representative samples of water, soil, grains and different chicken parts were assayed for Zn and Cu contents. There were higher concentrations of Zn (8.97–11.47 mg/kg) and Cu (14.73–15.45 mg/kg) in sewage water irrigated soil compared with other sources of water. In spring season, the highest concentration of zinc (5.28 mg/kg) and copper (2.65 mg/kg) was found in grains of Sadaf variety at sewage water treatment. In autumn season, maximum level of zinc (0.38 mg/kg) was found in grains of Sadaf variety at sewage water treatment and copper (3.60 mg/kg) was found in grains of MMRI variety at sewage water treatment. Similarly the group of chickens that consumed the grains raised with sewage water showed higher concentrations of Zn and Cu in their all body parts. However, Cu in contrast to Zn was found above the permissible limits in selected chicken parts due to irrigation with sewage water showing the transferability of this metal threatening the health issues. The values of transfer factor for Zn were greater than Cu. Target hazard quotient (THQ) was also calculated to estimate the potential consumer health risk of Zn and Cu contamination from consumption of selected chicken parts (liver, breast meat and gizzard) and the THQ values for both Cu and Zn were < 1 indicating that the consumption of these chicken edibles was safe for human. However, this study can only be regarded as preliminary since there is a dire need for more comprehensive study for the public awareness to combat health issues.

Article Highlights

  • Water scarcity in agriculture sector enforces farmers to apply urban wastewater without considering its pollutant effects on environment.

  • Concentrations of Zn and Cu in sewage water and sewage water irrigated soil and plants were higher.

  • Chickens that consumed the grains raised with sewage water showed higher concentration of Zn and Cu in their all body parts.

  • Target hazard quotient values for both Cu and Zn were <1 indicating that the consumption of these chicken edibles was safe for human.


Sewage water Corn grain Chicken Transfer factor Target hazard quotient 



The author would like to thank all the members (Co-authors) of the University of Sargodha and University College of Agricultural Sargodha, Pakistan for all of their help, advice and information provided for this study. This manuscript was a minor part of the Ph.D. thesis by Zille Huma.

Authors’ Contribution

All authors read and commented on drafts prepared by the first author and finally approved the manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


All the study protocols were approved by the Institutional Animal Ethics Committee, University of Sargodha (Approval No. 25-A18 IEC UOS). All the experiments performed comply with the rules of the National Research Council (1996) and all methods were performed in accordance with relevant guidelines and regulations.


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Copyright information

© University of Tehran 2019
corrected publication 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zill E Huma
    • 1
  • Zafar Iqbal Khan
    • 1
  • Ijaz Rasool Noorka
    • 2
  • Kafeel Ahmad
    • 1
  • Ali R. Bayat
    • 3
  • Kinza Wajid
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of BotanyUniversity of SargodhaSargodhaPakistan
  2. 2.Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics, University College of AgricultureUniversity of SargodhaSargodhaPakistan
  3. 3.Milk Production Solutions, Green TechnologyNatural Resources Institute Finland (Luke)JokioinenFinland

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