Research Article

Seasonal changes of copper and zinc concentrations in browse saltbush (Atriplex canescens (Pursh) Nutt.) from the Algerian arid rangelands


Abstract

The study aimed to elucidating the seasonal variations of copper (Cu2+) and zinc (Zn2+) contents occurring in Atriplex canescens shrubs, as well as in surrounding soil. Cu and Zn concentrations were determined using X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectrometry. Data were compared with those reported in other Atriplex species from different regions of the world. The results disclosed that the highest plant accumulation of Zn occurred in summer and autumn. However, Cu level remained unchanged (p > 0.05) during all seasons. For the surrounding soil, the highest Cu and Zn amounts were found in summer season. The maximum bioaccumulation factor (BF) of Zn was recorded in summer and autumn. Nevertheless for Cu, this parameter did not change significantly (p > 0.05) between seasons. Comparison of data with daily requirements of sheep revealed that Cu and Zn contents in A. canescens were not enough to meet the physiological requirements of ruminants, except for Zn in autumnal period. Animals browsing this saltbush must be supplemented with Cu and Zn during the seasons for better performance.

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