The Effect Of Sulfur Dioxide On The Levels Of Vitamin A And E And Selenium In Blood Serum Of Cattle Essays Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Animals, Cows, Sulfur, Vitamins, Health, Cattle, Soil, Dioxide

Pages: 5

Words: 1375

Published: 2021/01/03

Metabolic Physiology of Domestic Animals

For domestic animals such as cattle to have sound immune systems they need to have vitamin and mineral nutrition in the diets. Some of the minerals such Selenium is naturally found in animal feeds, but they can be manufactured through the use of residue from the manufacture of copper. Good nutrition in animals help in their growth and development thus there is a need to ensure that the cattle feeds has the right quantity of vitamins and minerals. The nutrition also helps in calf weight gain and reproductive performance. One of the most recommended minerals in domestic animals is sulfur. It is useful in the synthesis of cystine and methionine which are amino acids that contain sulfur. The mineral is also important in the synthesis of biotin and thiamin (LeBlanc, 2004). However, high concentrations of sulfur in the animal feeds inhibit the absorption of minerals and vitamins in the blood. Animals that have a high concentration of sulfur dioxide in the blood serum are at a higher risk of developing disease such as mastitis. This paper looks at the effects of sulfur dioxide on vitamins A and E and selenium in the blood serum of domestic cattle. The study will be carried out by evaluating literature and the previous research carried out in the animal science field. This study has a motive of enhancing the understanding of the importance of vitamins and minerals in animal health further, the study aims at discussing the impacts of sulfur dioxide on animal health.
Selenium is a mineral used for medicinal purposes by taking it into the body through water and food. The animals get most of the selenium from food and water. The content of the mineral in the food depends on the region where the animal’s food is grown. Foods such as wheat and crab are good sources of selenium. The amount of selenium in soils varies from one region to another thus making the foods grown in such regions to have different levels of selenium. In the United States, the foods grown in the Pacific Northwest and Eastern Coastal Plains are low in selenium contributing a maximum of 06 to 90 mcg of selenium which is low compared to the recommended level of 125mcg (Ivancic & Weiss, 2001). Selenium can also be manufactured by extracting selenium dioxide from residues in copper purification process. The selenium dioxide is oxidized by mixing it with water, and it is acidified, a process that leads to the formation of selenous acid. The solution is then bubbled with sulfur dioxide through a reduction process to form selenium. A deficiency of selenium causes infertility, retained placentas and white muscle disease in calves.
The deficiency of vitamins and minerals in cattle can lead to metabolic disorders that in turn impair the health status of the animals. The situation is more complicated if the animals are pregnant because it may lead to increased chances of calve mortality. Vitamin E is an important element in the health of cattle and its deficiency in calves results in white muscle disease (Weiss, Colenbrander & Cunningham, 1984). The condition is characterized by degeneration and necrosis in cardiac and skeletal muscles. The signs that the affected animals may show include weight loss, diarrhea, and unthriftiness. In cows, the deficiency of vitamin E may lead to disease such as mastitis. The supplementation of high levels of vitamin E during the transition period may have a positive or no effect on the health of mammary glands. Dairy cattle require approximately 0.3 mg/kg of selenium in the diet. The major function of the mineral is acting as an antioxidant of glutathione peroxidase. Just like in the case of deficiency of vitamin E, a deficiency in selenium in calves may lead to white muscle disease. The deficiency of selenium reduces immune responses in cattle. In dairy cows, the deficiency reduces the ability of the milk and blood neutrophils to kill bacteria. Low concentration of selenium in the blood serum of the cattle leads to a greater prevalence of intermammary infection.
A research was carried out in Pennsylvania involving 32 dairy cattle and it was found out that low selenium in blood serum of the cattle led to a greater risk of intermammary infections .in a different study involving 9 commercial dairy cows in Ohio, it was found that those with high selenium in their serum had lower chances of getting infections such as lower bulk tank somatic cell counts and mastitis. In the study, the intramuscular injection of selenium into the cows reduced the duration of symptoms in cows with mastitis by 46% but it did not affect the incidence of mastitis (Hefnawy & Tórtora-Pérez, 2010). The study involved cows that fed on diets with low vitamin E and selenium. Sulfur dioxide has an effect on selenium in that high levels of sulfur in the diet decreases the absorption of selenium.
A deficiency of vitamin A leads to increased susceptibility to bacterial, parasitic and viral infections. In addition, the deficiency can cause increased incidence of retained placenta in dairy cows, high morbidity and mortality rate in calves and abortions (Allison & Laven, 2000). The cell membranes of animals contain phospholipids that may lead to impairment of the cell functionality in cases of oxidative breakdown. Because the vitamin is an antioxidant, the breakdown of phospholipids to lipid hyper peroxides and hydrogen peroxide is decreased. A deficiency of vitamin E damages the functioning of the cell membranes because the high levels of hydrogen peroxide and to lipid hyper peroxides. On the other hand, selenium comprises an integral part of the glutathione peroxidase enzyme that destroys the lipid hyper peroxides and hydrogen peroxide. The enzymes that contain selenium help in maintaining the normal functioning of cells as well as preventing the damage of cell membranes by preventing oxidation. The functioning of the body cells in cattle including those involved in maintaining high immunity and development is enhanced by selenium and vitamin E. The two minerals are important in enhancing the immunocompetence through antibody mediated host defense systems.
In order for dairy cows to produce high volumes of milk it is important to include proper mineral in their diet. The excessive intake of sulfur by cattle reduces the absorption of selenium and copper minerals that are important in protecting the animals against diseases and cell breakdown. The emission of sulfur dioxide into the air leads to acid rain that is responsible for the sulfur absorbed by plants. The intake of such plants by the animals has negative health implications. The inability of the blood to absorb selenium and vitamin E results in reduced immunity leading to other health complications such as mastitis (Enjalber, Lebreton & Salat, 2006). Sulfur in animals leads to reduced mineral bioavailability. The sulfur produces elements that combine with copper and other minerals to inhibit the absorption of minerals in the system. The industrial production of selenium involves the oxidation process involving copper resides. Therefore, any effect on the copper elements affects the absorption of selenium in the blood serum. The non-toxic forms of sulfur such as the sulfate reduce the ruminal microbes into hydrogen sulfate that has more toxic effects on the animal health. The ionic forms of hydrogen sulfate interfere with the cellular respiration of the cattle. Reduced sulfur has more adverse impacts on animal health particularly in relation to absorption of minerals (Hefnawy & Tórtora-Pérez, 2010). The major component of vitamin A is beta-carotene that is naturally found in animal feeds such as fresh green forage. Supplements of vitamin A in the diet increase the cattle’s mammary gland health and decrease the incidence of retained placenta and metritis.
In conclusion, sulfur dioxide is necessary for the body but high concentration of sulfur in the blood serum of cattle may lead to health complications. The sulfur is less harmful when it is not reduced, but components such as sulfur dioxide are harmful. Sulfur dioxide leads inhibits the absorption of selenium and vitamins A and E. this has adverse effects on animal health since the vitamins and minerals are crucial in boosting the animal’s immunity and preventing cell breakdown.


Allison, R. D., & Laven, R. A. (2000). Effect of vitamin E supplementation on the. The Veterinary Record, 147, 703-708.
Enjalbert, F., Lebreton, P., & Salat, O. (2006). Effects of copper, zinc and selenium status on performance and health in commercial dairy and beef herds: retrospective study. Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition, 90(11‐12), 459-466.
Hefnawy, A. E. G., & Tórtora-Pérez, J. L. (2010). The importance of selenium and the effects of its deficiency in animal health. Small Ruminant Research,89(2), 185-192.
Ivancic, J., & Weiss, W. P. (2001). Effect of dietary sulfur and selenium concentrations on selenium balance of lactating Holstein cows. Journal of Dairy Science, 84(1), 225-232.
LeBlanc, S. J., Herdt, T. H., Seymour, W. M., Duffield, T. F., & Leslie, K. E. (2004). Peripartum serum vitamin E, retinol, and beta-carotene in dairy cattle and their associations with disease. Journal of dairy science, 87(3), 609-619.
Weiss, W. P., Colenbrander, V. F., & Cunningham, M. D. (1984). Maternal transfer and retention of supplemental selenium in neonatal calves. Journal of dairy science, 67(2), 416-420.

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The Effect Of Sulfur Dioxide On The Levels Of Vitamin A And E And Selenium In Blood Serum Of Cattle Essays Example. Free Essay Examples - Published Jan 03, 2021. Accessed July 01, 2022.

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