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Cattle exposure to chlordecone through soil intake. The case-study of tropical grazing practices in the French West Indies

Abstract : Ingested soil is a major vector of organic contaminants from environment to free-ranged animals, particularly for grazing herbivores. Therefore, a better understanding of processes driving soil intake may provide new insights to limit animal exposure to contaminants and ensure safety of animal products. To maintain the supply service of livestock farming activities in contaminated areas, it is necessary to design adapted farming practices aiming at controlling the risk for human health. This study was conducted in the French West Indies, where chlordecone, an organochlorine insecticide previously used to protect banana plantation against the black weevil and banned since 1993, has polluted nearly 20% of agricultural surfaces since the 1970s. A crossover study design was performed to estimate soil intake by twelve tethered Creole young bulls according to different grazing practices. The objectives were to characterize the influence of (i) daily herbage allowance (LOW, HIGH, ADLIB: 100, 150, 300 g DM/kg BW0.75 respectively); (ii) and soil surface moisture (SSM) testing grazing on a water-saturated (HUM) vs dried (DRY) ground. The herbage offer was managed via the allocated surfaces varying the chain length as animal holders commonly do in informal Caribbean systems. The results evidenced an increase in soil intake with DHA reduction (2.1 to 3.8% of DM intake; P < 0.05) and with SSM increase (2.4 to 3.6% of DM intake; P < 0.05). Herbage offer reduction involved a closer-to-the-ground grazing with shorter post-grazing sward surface height (82.2 to 63.3 mm; P < 0.001), and both herbage offer reduction and SSM increase amplified sward soiling (measured from titanium content in unwashed herbage and image analysis). This work showed that soil intake is unavoidable even when herbage offer is very generous. The animals will significantly increase soil intake when herbage offer would be at 150 g DM/kg BW0.75 or less, especially when the grazed surface is humid.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 17, 2020 - 3:13:43 PM
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Claire Collas, Maurice Mahieu, Alexandre Tricheur, Nadia Crini, Pierre-Marie Badot, et al.. Cattle exposure to chlordecone through soil intake. The case-study of tropical grazing practices in the French West Indies. Science of the Total Environment, Elsevier, 2019, 668, pp.161-170. ⟨10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.02.384⟩. ⟨hal-02061610⟩



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