Bioaccumulation of Heavy Metals in Broilers Fed “Trinidad de Guedes” Phosphorite

Document Type: Original Paper


1 Institute of Animal Science, Carretera Central, San José de las Lajas, Mayabeque, Cuba

2 Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Central University of Las Villas, Santa Clara, Villa Clara, Cuba


In order to use the “Trinidad de Guedes" phosphorite (TGP) as a supplement of calcium and phosphorus in animals, its concentrations of heavy metals were determined and their deposition was analyzed in broilers. Toxic elements were determined using atomic absorption spectrophotometry. The mean levels of heavy metals found in TGP were 82.5 mg/kg lead (Pb), 7.2 mg/kg cadmium (Cd), 1056.9 mg/kg manganese (Mn), 1.3 mg/kg mercury (Hg), 10.4 mg/kg  arsenic (As), 210.6 mg/kg zinc (Zn), and 121.3 mg/kg copper (Cu). All concentrations of heavy metals were below harmful levels, with the exception of Pb, which was above its maximum tolerable value. The levels of heavy metals accumulated in bones and feathers of broilers fed TGP were determined in a feeding trial. An amount of 300 day-old broilers from commercial hybrid crossing (HE21) were allocated into three treatments in a completely randomized design, with four replicates of 25 broilers each. The three treatments were a control containing dicalcium phosphate as calcium and phosphorus source, and two experimental treatments with TGP replacing dicalcium phosphate at levels of 50 and 100%. There were no differences between treatments for levels of toxic elements accumulated in feathers, femurs and tarsus of broilers. The amounts of heavy metals accumulated in the analyzed organs showed that TGP can replace dicalcium phosphate (DCP, the traditional source of calcium and phosphate) without causing harm to animal health nor bioaccumulating heavy metals.

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