Gateway for:

Member Countries

Diagnostics and Correction of Microelementoses in Farm Animals


Method of Diagnostics of Chronic Microelementoses in Farm Animals Based on the Chemical Elemental Composition of their Hair and Correction of Such Microelementoses

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-ANL/Analytical Chemistry/Chemistry
  • AGR-DIG/Diagnostics/Agriculture
  • AGR-DIS/Disease Surveillance/Agriculture

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Weaver L M

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Russia, Moscow\nMoscow State University, Russia, Moscow\nAll-Russian Scientific Research and Technology Design Institute of Agricultural Chemicalization, Russia, Moscow reg., Nemchinovka-1


  • Tohoku Fukushi University, Japan, Sendai

Project summary

Under today’s conditions of increasing civilization-related transformation of the environment the principle of adequacy of materials and technologies being used to the fertility and resources of the biosphere is playing a vital role. Biogenic migration of chemicals has its limits. It tends to its maximum manifestation within a certain range that corresponds to the homeostasis of the biosphere, which is the basic requirement of its sustainable evolution. Development and implementation of environmentally safe technologies for agriculture and industry have been promulgated by the UN Conference on Environment and Evolution (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) one of the basic prerequisites for stable development of the world community.

Deficiency of, or overload with, essential elements, as well as accumulation of toxic chemical elements in animals depend upon local biogeochemical elemental cycles. Environmental disbalance of biologically active elements results in the deficiency or excess of some chemical elements in plants, fodder and animals thus reducing their fertility and causing diseases.

Pathologies in animals attributed to the deficient or excessive vital (necessary, essential) elements, their modified isotopic composition and disbalance of macro- and microelements are referred to as microelementoses (MTOSes) [Avtsyn et al., 1983, 1991]. According to A. P. Avtsyn, the revelation of the essentiality of numerous trace elements is the greatest achievement of medicine and biology, and in terms of its significance it is not less vital than the discovery of vitamins. Of certain risk are civilization-related MTOSes (e.g. those associated with heavy metals and radionuclides) conjugated with the development of known or new pathology forms.

At diagnosing MTOSes in farm animals and humans and identifying biogeochemical provinces or environmentally unfavorable areas specialists more and more often resort to integrated system research approaches. One of them implies utilization of data on the chemical elemental composition of hair (CECH) that forms depending on the chemical elemental composition of the environment, fodders and general fitness of the body.

At present, MTOSes are diagnosed and amounts of macro- and microelements required by animals are identified based on the concentration of elements in animals’ blood and urine, as well as in fodders. However, the analysis of all fodders being used is labor consuming and does not reflect the integrated status of an element, since fodder composition often varies. Besides, concentrations of macro- and microelements in fodders and fodder additives do not provide understanding of their status, because part of them may get absorbed and convert to a metabolically active form in the body.

Taking into account difficult environmental conditions and regional and global environmental changes, conventional methods of elemental dysbolism diagnostics in animals are getting inefficient and low informative. Tracing local and global geochemical processes in the environment and diagnosing microelementoses in animals and humans necessitate integrated methods for body state assessment. Therefore, it is topical to develop an express-method to diagnose microelementoses in farm animals based on the chemical elemental composition of their hair, because at prophylaxis and prior to treatment of such diseases one needs to identify the diagnosis as accurately as possible. The available state-of-the-art highly sensitive instrumental methods make the development of the express-method for system MTOS diagnostics quite possible. At that, there are such diagnostic methods in the medical practice that are based on the chemical elemental composition of hair (Skal’ny A. V.) and benefit humans’ health in the areas differing in their environmental stress.

Hair is the best available biological substrate to reflect the processes that run in the body. They are the data provided by the CECH that will help to diagnose chronic diseases and states, and prior diseases that have had no manifestations. The concentration of most of chemical elements present in animals and humans in hair is much higher compared to the concentration in usual liquids, i.e. blood and urine. In hair, the up-to-date methods enable reliable detection of 20 to 30 essential elements, whereas the number of those detected in blood serum is 6 to 8. It is very important that the CECH displays the integral state of mineral metabolism and chemical composition of fodders, water and air. Apparently, the CECH reflects global biogeochemical changes in the biosphere and may be also used in the environmental assessment of specific areas and in the advancement of the concept on sustainable development of natural man-affected complexes.

Some attempts are known to exist today to use CECH-provided information to solve some environmental problems and identify the status of specific elements (Se, Hg, Pb). However, in order to develop a special method within the system of animals’ microelementosis diagnostics one needs to conduct additional investigations and experiments. First of all, one needs to know how the CECH varies depending on the type of an animal, its localization, age, conditions, in which it is living or is being kept, physiological conditions of the body, effects of water depleted by deuterium; one needs to correlate the CECH with pathological states and diseases of animals, composition of fodders and pasture plants in various areas. Part of this information is available. Nevertheless, it should be acquired and systematized.

The development of such an express-method of system diagnostics of microelementoses is particularly necessary to correctly treat MTOSes using special fodder additives developed with respect to the environmental status of chemical elements in specific areas.

Objectives of the Project:

– develop an express-method of system diagnostics of chronic microelementoses in farm animals based on the chemical elemental composition of hair;

– reveal disbalance of standardized macro- and microelements in fodders based on the CECH data;
– identify natural and man-affected biogeochemical provinces using the data on the elemental composition of hair;
– develop a technology to produce special fodder additives to correct microelementoses in farm animals.

The scope of the project will include the following activities:

1. Systematize available data on the qualitative and quantitative chemical elemental composition of hair.

2. Study the interdependence between insufficiency, excess or disbalance of macro- and microelements in animals and chronic diseases of organs and systems (using references).
3. Make databanks on the concentrations of macro- and microelements in the environment (soil, plants, water, fodder) as applied to the areas under investigation that are subject to different-degree environmental stresses.
4. Compare the CECH-provided data with the biogeochemical criteria of ecological conditions in the area.
5. Test the technique for elemental analysis of hair of cattle and sheep using atomic absorption spectrometry, atomic emission spectrometry with induction-coupled plasma, X-ray microdiffractometry, potentiometry, polarography, bioluminescence.
6. Identify the list of elements correlated with chronic diseases of farm animals.
7. Conduct thorough sampling of cattle and sheep hair in three farms (Moscow, Chelyabinsk and Chita regions) labeling localization, age, sex, physiological state, diet and environmental situation.
8. Develop recommendations regarding application of the CECH of farm animals (cattle and sheep) for microelementosis diagnostics and identify natural and man-affected provinces.
9. Prepare scientific and methodical proposals as to the development of a fodder additive preparation taking into account the recommended method of system microelementosis diagnostics based on the CECH.
10. Develop a technology to produce special fodder additives.

The results of the investigations will enable us to find out how the CECH changes depending on the ecological conditions, and how it is correlated with the habitation environment and specific features of chemical composition of fodders. They will provide us with a real opportunity to develop and apply to practice specific technologies associated with application of the CECH to reveal and correct various forms of microelementoses in farm animals. (Local technologies, development of production equipment, manufacturing lines and facilities).

The proposed project belongs to the area of applied research. However, its outcome will make a certain contribution to the area of basic research associated with the studies of mechanisms of chemicals accumulation in animal hair depending on the environmental conditions and physiological state of the body, as well as with the development of the concept of sustainable development of organism population and natural man-affected complexes.

This Project is in full compliance with the ISTC goals and objectives:

– the development of the express-method for system diagnostics of chronic microelementoses in farm animals is deemed necessary both for the advancement of basic ecology studies and for solving numerous applied problems related to the correction of animals’ microelementoses;

– the outcome of the Project will be used to develop practices associated with sustainable development of territories and aimed at their enhancement and increased fertility of farm animals;
– the economic benefit from the application of the proposals to practice will be constituted by the increased fertility of farm animals and reduced cost of diagnostics and correct treatment of microelementoses;
– the experience of RFNC-VNIIEF and MSU scientists in analytical chemistry, as well as the knowledge of GEOKHI RAN and VNIPTIKHIM scientists in biogeochemistry, biochemistry and techniques for correction of various forms of microelementoses in farm animals will be efficiently utilized to cope with the tasks specified;
– basic and applied investigations, as well as development of technologies, including those associated with the application of stable isotopes, for peaceful purposes in the area of environmental monitoring and protection will be supported.

RFNC-VNIIEF, GEOKHI RAN, MSU and VNIPTIKHIM have the experimental basis necessary, and scientists qualified, to successfully implement the Project.