Liver element profiles of red deer with special reference to copper, and biological implications
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The objective of this study was to compare farmed with free-ranging red deer with respect to levels and interactions of 18 selected elements. The study comprised liver samples of 43 freeranging animals collected from 6 hunting areas, and 52 farmed animals from 9 different herds in Norway. About half of the farmed animals had lower Cu contents than 4 ppm and suffered probably from Cu deficiency. The main structural differences between farmed and freeranging animals with liver Cu levels 4-40 ppm wm were by partial least square regression analyses related to the higher Al-, Fe- and Mo-concentrations and the lower Cu-concentrations in the farmed animals. This may indicate pronounced element imbalances in the farmed deer since they also in general contained significantly lower levels of trace elements compared to the free-ranging. Comparisons of Cu categories of farmed deer (< 2 ppm, 2-3 ppm, 3-4 ppm, 4-5 ppm and > 5 ppm) with free-ranging deer revealed, however, that differences in essential element concentrations diminished with increasing Cu categories of farmed deer. Low Cu concentrations and high Fe concentrations in the farmed deer may have ensued from relatively high absorption of Mo and Al by the farmed deer. We suggest that the farmed deer are influenced by deleterious elements due to a higher rate of ingestion of soil particles than are the free-ranging deer.