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  • 1 Szent István University, Budapest, H-1400 Budapest, P.O. Box 2, Hungary
  • 2 Soil and Agrochemical Research Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
  • 3 Central Veterinary Institute, Budapest, Hungary
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Potato and beetroot were grown on soils previously treated with heavy metal salts. Each particular microelement had a high concentration in both potato and beetroot [cadmium (Cd) 3.7 and 55.4, lead (Pb) 8.1 and 3.0, and mercury (Hg) 5.8 and 6.8 mg/kg dry matter, respectively]. In a metabolic balance trial 16 New Zealand White rabbits were fed 50 grams of basal diet and potato or beetroot ad libitum. The apparent digestibility of major nutrients and the accumulation of the microelements in different organs were investigated. Both potato and beetroot samples of high Pb and Hg content had the significantly (p < 0.05) lowest digestibility of organic matter and nitrogen-free extract. The Cd ingested from both potato and beetroot accumulated in the kidneys and liver (2.85 and 1.48 as well as 0.459 and 0.265 mg/kg, respectively). All the microelements (Cd, Pb and Hg) accumulated in the testicles (0.196, 0.32 and 0.199 mg/kg, respectively), reducing the rate of spermatogenesis. The tissue retention ofheavy metals depends not only on the element itself, but also upon the ‘carrier’ feedstuff.

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