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  • 1 Nagpur University Department of Chemistry 440 010 Nagpur (India)
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Human, animal (cow, buffalo and goat) and commercial milk powders (for infants and adults) have been analyzed for 5 minor (Na, K, Mg, Cl and P) and 13 trace elements (Cr, Mn, Fe, Co, Cu, Zn, Cd, Hg, As, Se, Sb, Cs and Br) by instrumental and radiochemical neutron activation. Milk standards NIST SRM 1549 and IAEA A-11 along with diet standards RM 8431 a and IAEA H-9 were also analyzed for quality assurance. The method involves thermal neutron irradiation for 10 m, 1 h, 6 h and 1 week in a reactor followed by high resolution -spectrometry. Concentrations of Fe, Co, Zn, Sb, and Se were also determined by radiochemical solvent extraction. Mean concentrations of Na, K, Mg, P, Cl, Fe, Mn and Cu in human milk (colostrum) are comparable with that of a WHO/IAEA study. It has, however, lower contents of toxic trace elements (Cr, Cd, Hg, Br, Se, Sb and As) compared to breast tissue from the same area. Cow milk is richer in Na, K, Cl, Mn and Se but it has comparable amounts of Mg, Zn, Br, Fe and Sb with respect to breast milk. Significant differences have been observed for elemental concentrations of Na, K, P and Fe in commercial formula milk powders for infants and adults. Infant's milk powders contain all the nutrient elements in balanced amounts required for the higher growth rate of a child.