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Chemical Composition and Mineral Contents Differentiation in Hairs of Some Wild Animal Species.

Byline: Mayada R. Farag, Ali H. Abou-Hadeed, Mervat H. Ghoniem, Mahmoud Alagawany, Vito Laudadio and Vincenzo Tufarelli

Abstract

The present study investigates the hair chemical traits of some wild animal species. American black bear (Ursus americanus), blue nile monkey (Cercopithecus mitis), barbary sheep (Ammotracus lervia), bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) and llama (Lama glama) were studied at Giza Zoo, Giza, Egypt. Fat, ash, nitrogen and total protein content as well as the concentration of some minerals (calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus and copper) were determined on hair. Results showed that the American black bear reported the highest values among all species for fat, ash, nitrogen and total protein, while the other species could be arranged as follows: blue nile monkey, llama, bactrian camel and barbary sheep, respectively. From our findings, it was found that the darkest hair showed the higher concentration of minerals than lighter colored hair.

Thus, it can be concluded hair coloration is highly correlated to chemical traits and mineral concentration in hair of different wild animal species.

Keywords: Hair, chemical composition, minerals, wild animals.

Hair is a complex tissue consisting of several components, and its chemical composition varies based on water content (Robbins, 2012). The main hair component is the protein, which is 65- 95% of total weight, mainly as keratin and keratin- associated proteins as well as condensed polymer of amino acids. Other constituents are water, lipid, pigment and inorganic minerals as trace elements (Chojnaka et al., 2006).

Hair may be described as crystalline, cross- linked and orientated polymorphic protein structure. Most of the extractable keratinous protein is contained within cortical cells, but significant and important tractions are present within cuticle (Powell and Rogers, 1986; Dawber, 1996). Recently published papers, on the detail of keratin production, reported differences between individuals, having an important forensic significance (Sen, 2010).

The main hair proteins are three structurally related keratins, the low sulphur, high sulphur and high tyrosine and glycine keratins, where the sulphur content derived from amino acids (Dawber, 1996; Dunnett and Lees, 2003). There are five primary sources of elements to growing hair which include matrix cells, the connective tissue papilla, eccrine secretions, apocrine secretions, and the epidermis. The elements obtained through ingestion or environmental exposure are applied to hair through endogenous deposition from the connective tissue papilla and matrix cells. Eccrine sweat exogenously deposits salts high in sodium and potassium on the hair. Other trace elements deposited through sweat include nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, manganese and iron (Ambrose, 1993; Larsen, 1997; Yousafzai et al., 2013).

Therefore, the main objective of this study was to investigate the differentiation between some wild animal species depending on their biological differences among the chemical and mineral composition of hairs to acquire valuable information for the experts in field.

Materials and methods

Samples of hair were obtained from five animal species from Giza Zoo, Giza, Egypt; a carnivore, American black bear (Ursus americanus), a primate, blue nile monkey (Cercopithecus mitis), and three artiodactyls, barbary sheep (Ammotracus lervia), bactrian camel (Camelus bactrianus) and llama (Lama glama) from four animal per species (two males and two females, respectively).

Hair samples collected from animals' back were analyzed in triplicate for ash (967.05), total protein and nitrogen (Kjeldahl N A- 6.25, 990.03), ether extract (945.16) contents according to AOAC (2006). The ash was wet with sulfuric and perchloric acids and diluted with distilled water. Hair samples from the selected species were subjected to acid digestion according to the method proposed by Mahaffy et al. (1981), Digests were filtered (Whatman No. 1) and diluted to 25 ml deionized water (Julshman, 1983). The resultant solutions were analyzed by flame atomic absorption spectrophotometer (Agilent 6890 Series GC). All results were expressed on dry matter basis.

The results were expressed as mean standard error of the means (SEM). Data were statistically analyzed by a one-way ANOVA using the GLM procedure of IBM SPSS Statistics software (version 21.0). Significance implies Pless than 0.05 (Steel and Torrie, 1993).

Results

Table I shows chemical analysis of hair of different species, which revealed that American black bear has the greatest values for fat, ash, nitrogen and total protein among all wild species, followed by blue nile monkey, llama, bactrian camel and barbary sheep. In the present study, the data for mineral concentration of hairs showed that American black bear had the highest level for Ca, Mg, K, Na, P and Cu followed by llama, blue nile monkey, bactrian camel and barbary sheep (P less than 0.001; Table I).

Discussion

Difficulties with a proper interpretation of results of hair analysis were mainly due to the absence of well-defined reference concentration ranges; thus, problems associated with differentiating between endogenous and exogenous deposition and inconsistency of hair concentration anomalies with nutritional status occurred (Rodushkin and Axelssom, 2000). The difficulties in establishing reference ranges were also due to the natural variance in hair composition as a possible consequence of age, sex, diet, hair color, ethnical and geographic origin (Miiekeley et al., 1998; Sharma et al., 2004).

Unlike most tissues, hair is formed in relatively short period of time, after which it is expelled from the body's continuing metabolic process. The concentration of most trace elements are high in hair when compared with other body tissues or fluids. The trace elements in fact accumulated during growth are sealed into the hair (Katz and Katz, 1992).

Most attention on mineral incorporation into hair focused on the uptake within the hair follicle during hair synthesis. During the processes of mitosis, differentiation, maturation and melanin synthesis, macro- and microelements enter the newly formed hair cells. As the hair shaft is keratinized, a cement-like protein fills all intercellular spaces and binds the cortical cells of the hair shaft together; moreover, the hair is rich in sulfur containing amino acids that presumably provide ligands for stable hair mineral bonds (Combs, 1987).

Our results showed that the American black bear had the fat, highest concentration of ash, nitrogen, total protein and minerals. The dark hair showed higher concentration of minerals than the light colored hair. This finding is in agreement with the previous results reported by O'Mary et al. (1970) who compared hair from Holstein and Herford cows and found that Holstein black hair contained more Na, P, Mg, Ca and K than Herford red hair. Furthermore, these result also agreed with those of Hall et al. (1971) who observed that ash content of white hair was lower than pigmented hair and that also some minerals appear to influence the color. Meanwhile, Feughelman (2002) and Szpoganicz et al. (2002) stated that minerals, such as Cu, have an high affinity for melanins which are granules of pigment providing the natural colouring material in keratin fibers, and this may explain the mineral concentration in the studied species in relation to the hair color level.

So, the increased protein content (consequently keratin) could be responsible for increasing the melanin content in hair, and thus the binding sites of minerals into hair (Dunnett and Lees, 2003). In conclusion, from our findings it can be concluded the hair coloration is

Table I.- Crude fat, ash, nitrogen, total protein contents (%) and concentration of minerals (ppm) in the hairs of studied species.

###American###Blue nile###Barbary###Bactrian

Items###Llama###SEM###P-value

###black bear###monkey###sheep###camel

Crude fat, %###2.00a###1.80 c###1.60 f###1.75 d###1.69 e###0.001###0.020

Ash, %###2.38 a###1.89 c###1.40 f###1.65 d###1.59 e###0.002###less than 0.001

Nitrogen, %###15.00 a###14.00 c###11.00 f###13.03 d###12.23 e###0.051###less than 0.001

Total protein, %###93.74 a###87.80 c###73.76 f###81.24 d###78.12 e###0.022###less than 0.001

Calcium, ppm###130.00a###98.00d###65.00f###111.66c###80.33e###0.401###less than 0.001

Magnesium, ppm###99.00a###54.66 d###21.00 f###70.66 c###40.33 e###0.452###less than 0.001

Potassium, ppm###118.00 a###91.00 d###62.00 f###99.00 c###80.33 e###0.512###less than 0.001

Sodium, ppm###145.00 a###71.00 d###45.66 f###114.66 c###68.30 e###0.531###0.002

Phosphorus, ppm###161.00 a###100.33 d###71.33 f###130.66 c###80.66 e###0.493###less than 0.001

Copper, ppm###61.00 a###20.66 d###10.33 f###48.66 c###15.66 e###0.394###less than 0.001

highly correlated to the chemical composition and mineral levels of hairs in different wild animal species.

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Powell, B.C. and Rogers, G.E., 1986. In: Biology of the integument (eds. J. Bereiter-Hahn, A.G. Matoltsy and K.S. Richards), vol 2. Springer, Berlin, pp. 695721.

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Author:Farag, Mayada R.; Abou-Hadeed, Ali H.; Ghoniem, Mervat H.; Alagawany, Mahmoud; Laudadio, Vito; Tufar
Publication:Pakistan Journal of Zoology
Article Type:Report
Date:Aug 31, 2015
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