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Micro Mineral Status of Crossbred Cattle under Different Physiological Stages in Eastern India and Their Interrelationship in Soil and Fodders

Pallav Shekhar Pankaj Kumar Umesh Dimri Mahesh C. Sharma
Vol 7(4), 158-165

Minerals are inorganic dietary constituents required for various metabolic processes in the body. Availability of minerals to animals in appropriate quantities is a major factor determining the health and productivity. Keeping it in view, a baseline survey was conducted in four districts of Bihar. The aim of the study was to assess the major micro-minerals i.e., copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn), Iron (Fe) and Cobalt (Co) status of soil, plant/fodder and cattle in four districts (Muzaffarpur, Araria, Jehanabad and Bhagalpur) of Bihar. Soil (n=379), fodder (n=372) and plasma samples from cattle (n=290) were collected from four districts of Bihar. Minerals soil, plant/fodder (composite) and plasma were estimated by AAS (Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometry). The average Cu, Zn, Fe and Co contents of soil in four representative districts of three agro-climatic zones of Bihar were found to be 1.212±0.046, 1.283±0.041, 56.036 ±1.273 and 0.403±0.010 µg/gm, respectively. The percent of soil deficient in Cu, Zn, Fe and Co were 23.21%, 38.28%, 3.52% and 27.20%, respectively. Similarly, the average Cu, Zn, Fe and Co contents of fodder were 12.07±0.251, 29.07±0.373, 145.34±8.980 and 0.276±0.012 µg/gm with deficiency of 30.37%, 43.54%, 0.80% and 21.77%, respectively. The overall prevalence of Cu, Zn, Fe and Co deficiency in plasma samples of cattle was 40.90%, 35.55%, 9.03% and 58.20% in the four districts of three agro-climatic zones of Bihar. Significant correlation was observed at 1% and 5% level for Cu, Zn Fe and Co concentrations in soil-fodder-cattle plasma of in almost all districts.

Keywords : Micro Mineral Soil Fodder Crossbred Cattle Physiological State Eastern India


Minerals are inorganic substances, present in all body tissues, fluids and their presence is necessary for the maintenance of certain physicochemical processes which are essential to life. Minerals are chemical constituents used by the body in many ways. Although they yield no energy, they have important roles to play in many activities in the body factors (Soetan et al.,2010). Mineral nutrients (major and minor) are very important for several metabolic functions and their deficiency impair production and reproduction. Though required in small quantities, minerals are essential for optimal body functions of animals (Sharma et al., 2003). Mineral deficiencies are responsible for a variety of suboptimal performances such as poor production and reproductive inefficiencies (Mohebbi-Fani et al., 2010). Significance of trace mineral nutrition with respect to growth, production, reproduction and immunity in cattle has been extensively reviewed (Guyot et al., 2009). The availability of minerals to cattle depends upon the production system, feeding practices, and environment. The extent and pattern of mineral deficiencies and excess in plants vary in different agro-climatic conditions (Singh et al., 2011) as available mineral content in green vegetation is dependent on physical and chemical properties of soil, soil erosion, cropping pattern, fertilizers and chemical application and presence of other minerals (Mcdowell, 1985). Dairy cattle are more prone to mineral deficiency due to their increased requirement for lactation (McDowell et al., 1993). Bihar is a land of different agro-climatic regions with agriculture contributing to 47.6% to the state domestic product. There was a need of three fold improvement in milk production in Bihar (Road Map, Govt. of Bihar, 2006). Limited research work conducted in the state had indicated areas of mineral imbalance. Also, there were numerous problems of health and reproduction in bovines in different region of the state and there was immense need to improve the health and production capability of dairy animals. Therefore, it is necessary to generate zone-wise information on mineral status so as to identify the deficiencies or toxicities (Garg et al., 1999). Taking into consideration wide variation in geographical and climatic factors of the area, need to increase the milk production and potential for the growth in the milk production, the current study was planned in four representative districts of three agro-climatic zones Bihar state of North India.

Materials and Methods

A survey was conducted in four districts of three agro-climatic zones of Bihar (India) viz., Muzaffarpur, Araria, Jehanabad and Bhagalpur to record the mineral status in soil, fodder and plasma of cross bred cattle. Cross bred cattle population in these districts were mostly crosses of Holstein Friesian, Jersey and rarely Sahiwal.

Sample Collection

The study was undertaken in 2 phases for the four zones. In first phase two districts of Bihar namely Jehanabad (zone- 3A) and Bhagalpur (zone- 3B) and in second phase Muzaffarpur (zone-1) and Araria (zone-2) were surveyed and a total 379 samples of soil and 372 samples of fodder grown in the same fields were collected. North West alluvial plains of Bihar is zone 1, North East alluvial plains of Bihar is zone 2 and South Bihar alluvial plains is zone 3. Blood samples were collected using standard protocol in heparinized sterile vials. A total of 290 (cross bred cattle) were screened and blood sample were collected from all the four districts. While collecting the blood samples the information of breed, age and physiological status were recorded. Blood samples were immediately processed at Clinical Complex of Bihar Veterinary College, Patna and plasma samples were harvested using standard protocol.

Mineral Estimation

Micro minerals elements including zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), iron (Fe) and cobalt (Co) were estimated in soil, fodder and plasma samples after digestion. The samples of soil, fodder and plasma were digested by the method of Franeck (1992), Trolson (1969), and Kolmer et al., (1951) respectively. Mineral content in soil, fodder and plasma samples was estimated by atomic absorption spectrophotometer (ECIL 4141, Hyderabad, India). All the collected samples of soil, fodder and plasma were analyzed individually. Data collected from this study were analyzed as per the method described by Snedecor and Cochran (1994) for mean, standard error, analysis of variance (ANOVA) and correlation coefficient by standard-t test. Prevalence percentage was estimated using critical levels of Cu, Zn, Fe and Co in their respective samples.

Result and Discussion

The micro-mineral content of soil and fodders of four representative districts of different agro-climatic zones of Bihar and their deficiency prevalence is presented in Table 1. The micro-mineral status in cattle in different physiological state from all four zones of Bihar is depicted in Table 2. The overall prevalence of copper deficiency in soil samples of Bihar was 23.21%. The mean soil Cu concentration (μg/gm) in soils of Bihar was 1.212±0.046 and the soil copper concentration ranged from 0.25 to 4.59 μg/gm in Bihar indicating the marginal deficiency of Cu in soils of Muzaffarpur, Araria, Jehanabad and Bhagalpur districts. The overall prevalence of deficiency of Cu in fodder samples of three agro-climatic zones of Bihar was 30.37% and the mean concentration of copper in fodder sample was 12.07±0.251 µg/gm as compared to critical limit of 8 ppm (NRC, 2001). Lower Cu concentration in dry and green fodders (7.34 μg/gm) compared to concentrates (15.19 μg/gm) in Maharashtra has been reported (Garg et al., 2007). The mean concentration of Cu in soil, fodder and plasma was higher in districts of northern agro-climatic zones compared to that of southern zones in Bihar. Mean soil Cu concentration in the presented study was above the critical limit of 0.65 μg/gm of soil (Mc Dowell, 1987). The Cu contents of soil were marginally deficient and were lower as compared to soil copper concentration reported in eastern Uttar Pradesh (Kumar et al., 2007; Sharma et al., 2006). Significantly (P<0.05) lowest soil Cu was found in soils of zone 3A (0.941± 0.072) district which may be attributable to higher molybdenum concentration in soil sample (Kumar, 2006). Low level of fodder Cu in two districts of agro-climatic zone 3 may be attributed to alkalinity of soil and lower value of soil copper and higher concentration of soil molybdenum and iron in these districts. Cu absorption is influenced by Fe-Cu antagonism (Humphries et al., 1983). Cu and molybdenum antagonism has also been reported (Hall, 2005).

Table 1: Mean ±S.E (µg/gm) values, range and prevalence (%) of soil and fodder micro-minerals deficiency in Bihar

Zones Districts Cu Zn Fe Co
1 M Soil 1.450±0.09a 1.136±0.07b 43.751±1.92c 0.461±0.02a
n=102 (0.41-4.59) (0.19-3.46) (2.35-96.82) (0.13-1.07)
11.76% 48.03% 5.88% 21.56%
Fodder 13.80±0.52x 26.84±0.71y 137.95±23.30yz 0.323±0.02x
n=102 (4.37-25.68) (14.70-38.40) (48.65-259.20) (0.05-1.35)
24.50% 51.96% 0.98% 20.58%
2 A Soil 1.301±0.10ab 1.273±0.09ab 54.684±2.40b 0.338±0.018c
n=86 (0.33-4.17) (0.28-4.15) (2.51-119.20) (0.12-0.88)
20.93% 44.18% 3.48% 32.55%
Fodder 12.40±0.540y 24.89±0.796z 132.63±17.01z 0.228±0.02y
n=81 (2.23-26.65) (15.14-36.64) (45.79-237.64) (0.04-1.42)
28.39% 56.79% 2.46% 23.45%
3A J Soil 0.941±0.07c 1.308±0.08ab 64.651±2.78a 0.393±0.01b
n=97 (0.25-3.16) (0.27-3.87) (1.78-127.85) (0.13-1.15)
32.98% 35.05% 2.06% 29.89%
Fodder 11.16±0.46yz 31.28±0.62x 164.77±29.03x 0.267±0.02xy
n=91 (2.27-24.26) (19.30-45.34) (60.40-287.15) (0.05-1.32)
31.86% 35.16% 0.00% 23.07%
3B B Soil 1.154±0.08b 1.423±0.08a 61.578±2.48a 0.409±0.02ab
n=94 (0.30-4.06) (0.21-4.21) (2.17-121.24) (0.16-1.22)
27.65% 32.97% 3.19% 30.85%
Fodder 10.84±0.42z 32.81±0.56x 145.48±21.39y 0.275±0.02xy
n=98 (2.04-26.65) (19.42-43.34) (52.50-267.18) (0.06-1.41)
36.73% 31.63% 0.00% 20.40%

Values in the parenthesis indicate range and prevalence indicated in percentage; M= Muzaffarpur; A= Araria; J= Jehanabad; B= Bhagalpur; Soil-a, b, c-Mean ± SE in a column with different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05%).Fodder-x, y, z-Mean ± SE in a column with different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05%)

The average plasma Cu concentration in cattle ranged between 0.21 to 1.27 μg/ml as against the critical limit of 0.65 μg/ml (McDowell, 1987). In one the study carried out in Mathura, copper was found to be below critical limit in all categories of cattle with range of 0.29-0.64 mg/L (Gupta et al., 2016). The overall prevalence of Cu deficiency in plasma samples of cattle was 40.90% in the four districts of three agro-climatic zones of Bihar (Table 2). Near similar observation of 44.1% prevalence of Cu deficiency in serum samples of cattle of Orissa has been reported (Singh et al., 2011).

Table 2: Mean± S.E (µg/ml) values of plasma micro-minerals, range and prevalence (%) of deficiency in cattle of Bihar

Zones Elements Lactating Non lactating Calf
1 Cu 0.6727±.032a 0.7474±.036a 0.8165±.057a
(0.24-0.99) (0.46-1.12) (0.38-1.16)
41.66% 39.28% 28.57%
Zn 0.7335±0.061by 1.1567±.108x 1.1933±.162x
(0.30-1.61) (0.31-1.95) (0.30-2.04)
52.77% 35.71% 21.42%
Fe 1.7465±0.086 1.9540±0.118 1.6203±0.113
(0.94-2.51) (0.86-2.77) (0.84-2.20)
0.00% 3.57% 14.28%
Co 0.0732± 0.007a 0.0780±.006a 0.0879±.011a
(0.02-0.27 ) ( 0.02-0.11) (0.03-0.14)
34.28% 39.28% 35.17%
2 Cu 0.6778±.023a 0.7026±.047ab 0.8187±.055a
(0.32-0.95) (0.32-1.20) (0.38-1.27)
43.33% 38.88% 28.57%
Zn 0.6804±0.074bz 1.0986±.139xyz 1.1761±.143xy
(0.29-1.64) (0.27-2.00) (0.38-1.94)
56.66% 44.44% 28.57%
Fe 1.7578±0.094 2.0823±0.134 1.7184±0.144
(0.89-2.94) (1.02-3.01) (0.83-2.44) 14.28%
3.33% 0.00%
Co 0.0725±.005a 0.0666±.006ab 0.0711±.007ab (0.02-0.10)
(0.02-0.11 ) (0.01-0.10 ) 37.71%
36.66% 44.44%
3A Cu 0.5873±.028b 0.6046±.040b 0.6591±.042ab
(0.21-0.93) (0.40-1.17) (0.35-1.26)
53.50% 45.00% 30.00%
Zn 1.0570±0.090ay 1.3443±.142xy 1.4080±.121xy
(0.33-2.12) (0.40-2.26) (0.48-2.33)
40.00% 35.00% 25.00%
Fe 1.7827±0.068 1.8375±0.099 1.6366±0.132
(0.82-2.89) (0.87-2.38) (0.80-2.41)
7.50% 5.00% 20.00%
Co 0.0568±.003b 0.0602±.005ab 0.0623±.004b
(0.02-0.08 ) (0.03-0.10 ) (0.02-0.10 )
52.50% 45.00% 38.09%
3B Cu 0.5458±.029b 0.6122±.046b 0.6301±.059b
(0.27-0.98) (0.29-1.18) (0.26-1.20)
57.14% 45.00% 40.00%
Zn 1.1627±0.095a 1.3365±.161 1.4611±.171
(0.36-2.23) (0.32-2.42) (0.48-2.38)
37.14% 30.00% 20.00%
Fe 1.7240±0.080 1.8157±0.121 1.6370±0.173
(0.92-2.45) (0.93-2.78) (0.82-2.54)
0.00% 0.00% 13.33%
Co 0.0513±.003b 0.0573±.005b 0.0633±.007b
(0.02-0.09) (0.02-0.10 ) (0.02-0.12)
65.71% 55.00% 40

Values in the parenthesis represent range and prevalence in percentage; M= Muzaffarpur; A= Araria; J= Jehanabad; B= Bhagalpur; a, b-Mean ± SE in a column with different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05%)

x,y,z -Mean ± SE in a row with different superscripts differ significantly (P<0.05%)

Deficiency of copper in plasma of cattle may be due to poor biological availability of Cu, due to increased lignification in the fodders of tropical countries and susceptibility of Cu to form biologically unavailable complexes with iron, zinc and phytase (Smith and Akinbamijo, 2000). Concentration of Cu in soil-fodder-cattle revealed significant and positive correlation in districts of all the four zones except soil-cattle in Muzaffarpur district and soil and cattle in Muzaffarpur and Araria districts.

The mean soil Zn concentrations (μg/gm) in soil samples of Bihar were 1.283±0.041. The mean concentration of soil zinc in soil samples was above the critical limit of 1.00 ppm (Cox and Kamprath, 1972). The overall prevalence of zinc deficiency in soil samples of Bihar was 38.28%. Highest prevalence of zinc deficiency (48.03%) in soil samples was observed in Muzaffarpur of north Bihar. The prevalence of zinc deficiency in soil samples of agro- climatic zone 3 of south Bihar was comparatively lower and Bhagalpur district recorded lowest prevalence of soil zinc deficiency (32.97%). Similar trend was also observed in fodder and plasma samples. The overall mean concentration of Zn in fodder samples on dry matter basis was 29.07±0.373 μg/gm which is well below the critical limit of 30 μg/gm (NRC, 2001). The mean concentration of zinc in fodder samples ranged from 14.70 to 45.38 μg/gm. The overall prevalence Zn deficiency in fodder samples was comparatively higher than the same in soil samples of Bihar. The overall percent prevalence of deficiency of Zn in fodder samples was 43.54%. The range of plasma Zn in cattle in all the four districts of Bihar varied from 0.27 to 2.42 μg/ml respectively as against critical limit of 0.6-0.8 μg/ml (McDowell, 1992). The overall prevalence of Zn deficiency in plasma samples of cattle was 35.55% in the four districts of three agro-climatic zones of Bihar. Kaka (2012) reported 23.57% of Zn deficiency in plasma samples of bovine of Western Maharashtra. The finding of lower fodder Zn may be attributed to lower values of Zn and higher value of Fe in soil of these districts. Excess iron inhibits the utilization of Zn and Cu by plant and thus results in secondary deficiency in plants (Kumar et al., 2007). High deficiency of Zn in area signifies that as rainfall recedes, soil pH increases with accumulation of salts with resultant decrease in availability of Zn to decreased solubility. Deficiency of Zn in soils of Muzaffarpur district may have been attributed to alkaline calcareous soils and most extensive cultivation in this area. The present finding of soil Zn concentration was higher than those reported by Sharma et al., (2006) in soil samples of northern India. In Kashmir valley similar trend of zinc deficiency was observed (Yatoo et al., 2011). The mean concentration of plasma Zn in cattle was lower in lactating cattle as compared to their non-lactating and calves, counterparts (Table 2). This may be due to drain of Zn in the developing fetus in pregnancy and in milk during lactation. Bahram et al., (2011) reported lower level of serum Zn in pregnant cattle as compared to calves. Significant correlation was observed at 1% and 5% level for Zn concentrations in soil-fodder-cattle plasma of in almost all districts except soil cattle plasma in Jehanabad districts.

The mean concentration of soil Fe in Bihar was adequate to high as compared to critical limits of 20 ppm suggested by NRC (2001). The overall prevalence of soil Fe deficiency was 3.52% and 6.22% in cattle of Bihar. Higher concentration of Fe in fodder sample may be due to high uptake of Fe by plants from soil (McDowell, 1992). Fe deficiency in calves was found to be highest among different groups. It may be attributed to the fact that the young animals have higher requirements (Judson and Mc Farlane, 1998). In case of Fe, significant correlation was observed between soil-fodder and fodder cattle plasma among all four zones except in fodder cattle plasma in zone 3B district the significance recorded was at 5% level.

The overall prevalence of soil Co deficiency in Bihar was 27.20%. The mean (±S.E.) soil Co concentration (μg/gm) in soil of Bihar was 0.403±0.010 which indicates marginally low compared to critical limit (0.3 ppm) as prescribed by committee on mineral nutrition (1973). In the present study, 27.20% prevalence of fodder Co deficiency was found. The overall mean (±S.E.) concentration of cobalt (μg/gm) in fodder samples of Bihar was 0.276±0.012 as against the critical limit of 0.10ppm (NRC, 2001). The range of plasma Co in cattle in all the four districts of Bihar varied from 0.01 to 0.27 μg/ml, respectively as against the critical value of 0.05-0.07 ppm suggested by Mc Dowell (1992). Similar observation of low Co was observed in Virandawani cattle (Devi et al., 2011). Significantly higher soil-fodder-cattle plasma Co correlation was observed in zone 3 as compared to districts of zone 1 and 2.


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