Heavy Metals and Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE) in Foods

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Toxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 11004

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Toxicology, University of La Laguna, 38071 La Laguna, Spain
Interests: toxicology; food safety; risk assessment; metals; heavy metals; fluoride; nitrates; dietary; exposure; environmental contaminants
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Guest Editor
Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Group of Environmental and Computational Chemistry, Universidad de Cartagena, Campus Zaragocilla, Cartagena 130014, Colombia
Interests: climate change; environmental economics; human health; environmental pollution; natural products; parasitology; protein–ligand; interactions; mercury
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Our planet faces multiple challenges that require comprehensive, cohesive and integrated multi-actor strategies. One Health is a collaborative, multisectoral, and transdisciplinary approach with the goal of achieving optimal health outcomes, whilst recognizing the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.

Among these global challenges, food security and food safety stand out, along with environmental protection. Heavy metals and potentially toxic metals are food contaminants that are present in food because of their presence in the environment and the dietary exposure to these contaminants can lead to health risks. To promote food safety and human health, novel approaches for the assessment of these food hazards and risks are required.

Since food hazards associated with heavy metal and potentially toxic metal contamination are still of increasing concern worldwide, not only for consumers but also for governments, industry and all sectors involved in the food chain, the purpose of this Special Issue of Foods is to recruit outstanding scientific researchers to provide high-quality manuscripts on hazard identification, hazard characterization, exposure assessments and risk characterization, along with risk management and risk communication challenges and strategies for these chemical hazards in food and feed.

Authors are invited to submit original and innovative research articles or critical review papers on these food contaminants.

We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Carmen Rubio
Prof. Dr. Jesus Olivero-Verbel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Foods is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • heavy metals
  • potentially toxic metals
  • occurrence
  • hazard identification
  • hazard characterization
  • exposure assessments
  • risk assessments
  • risk analysis
  • risk management
  • risk communication

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Toxic Heavy Metals and Their Risk Assessment of Exposure in Selected Freshwater and Marine Fish in Thailand
by Prasit Sirisangarunroj, Nuntawat Monboonpitak, Weeraya Karnpanit, Piyanut Sridonpai, Alongkote Singhato, Nunnapus Laitip, Nattikarn Ornthai, Charun Yafa and Kunchit Judprasong
Foods 2023, 12(21), 3967; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12213967 - 30 Oct 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1470
Abstract
This study identified the levels of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead in 15 species of commonly consumed fish in Thailand (7 freshwater species, 8 marine species), as well as the risk of these toxic elements for consumers. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS-MS) [...] Read more.
This study identified the levels of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead in 15 species of commonly consumed fish in Thailand (7 freshwater species, 8 marine species), as well as the risk of these toxic elements for consumers. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS-MS) was used to identify toxic elements, while an exposure assessment was conducted by applying consumption amounts from the national food consumption survey to the toxic element contents in the fish samples. The results showed that the fish contained arsenic ranging from less than the limit of detection (LOD) to 8.51 mg/kg fresh weight (FW), cadmium ranging from the LOD to 0.04 mg/kg FW, and mercury ranging from the limit of quantitation (LOQ) to 0.38 mg/kg FW. Lead was found in small amounts (<LOQ) when compared to the Codex and Thailand’s standards. Only grouper had a higher mercury content (0.55 mg/kg FW) than that of the Codex standard, but it was lower than the notification requirement of Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health. Based on the estimated daily intake scenario, the consumption of most fish species posed a low risk of concern in terms of cadmium and lead. A high risk of concern was found for arsenic exposure, with the exception of long, non-scaly fish (catfish and dory). Marine fish, with the exception of Indo-Pacific mackerel, also posed a high risk of mercury exposure, but only in the case of a high mercury content, high consumption, or both. For a high arsenic content with high consumption or both, children aged 0–5.9 years were at a high risk of concern. Food safety authorities should regularly monitor the levels of toxic element contamination in high-risk food products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals and Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE) in Foods)
25 pages, 1393 KiB  
Article
Unravelling Heavy Metal Dynamics in Soil and Honey: A Case Study from Maramureș Region, Romania
by Florin Dumitru Bora, Anca Cristina Babeș, Anamaria Călugăr, Mugurel Ioan Jitea, Adela Hoble, Răzvan Vasile Filimon, Andrea Bunea, Alexandru Nicolescu and Claudiu Ioan Bunea
Foods 2023, 12(19), 3577; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12193577 - 26 Sep 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1366
Abstract
The study examined soil and honey samples from the Maramureș region, assessing potentially toxic elements and their concentrations. The highest concentrations were found for (Cu), (Zn), (Pb), (Cr), (Ni), (Cd), (Co), and (As), while (Hg) remained below the detection limit. Samples near anthropogenic [...] Read more.
The study examined soil and honey samples from the Maramureș region, assessing potentially toxic elements and their concentrations. The highest concentrations were found for (Cu), (Zn), (Pb), (Cr), (Ni), (Cd), (Co), and (As), while (Hg) remained below the detection limit. Samples near anthropogenic sources displayed elevated metal levels, with the Aurul settling pond and Herja mine being major contamination sources. Copper concentrations exceeded the legal limits in areas near these sources. Zinc concentrations were highest near mining areas, and Pb and Cd levels surpassed the legal limits near beehives producing acacia honey. Nickel and Co levels were generally within limits but elevated near the Herja mine. The study highlighted the role of anthropogenic activities in heavy metal pollution. In the second part, honey samples were analyzed for heavy metal concentrations, with variations across types and locations. Positive correlations were identified between certain elements in honey, influenced by factors like location and pollution sources. The research emphasized the need for pollution control measures to ensure honey safety. The bioaccumulation factor analysis indicated a sequential metal transfer from soil to honey. The study’s comprehensive approach sheds light on toxic element contamination in honey, addressing pollution sources and pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals and Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE) in Foods)
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13 pages, 979 KiB  
Article
Proteins and Minerals in Whey Protein Supplements
by Dailos González-Weller, Soraya Paz-Montelongo, Elena Bethencourt-Barbuzano, Daniel Niebla-Canelo, Samuel Alejandro-Vega, Ángel J. Gutiérrez, Arturo Hardisson, Conrado Carrascosa and Carmen Rubio
Foods 2023, 12(11), 2238; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12112238 - 1 Jun 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3186
Abstract
Sports nutrition supplementation is a widespread practice. Whey protein supplements contribute not only to protein intake but also to dietary exposure to minerals. The labelling present provides the percentage of protein and rarely refers to other components, such as potentially toxic elements such [...] Read more.
Sports nutrition supplementation is a widespread practice. Whey protein supplements contribute not only to protein intake but also to dietary exposure to minerals. The labelling present provides the percentage of protein and rarely refers to other components, such as potentially toxic elements such as B, Cu, Mo, Zn, and V that present tolerable upper intake levels set by the European Food Safety Authority. The percentage of protein declared on supplement labelling was checked using the Kjeldahl method, and the levels of Ca, Mg, K, Na, Ba, B, Co, Cu, Cr, Sr, Fe, Li, Mn, Mo, Ni, V, Zn, and Al were analyzed by ICP-OES with the aim of characterizing the protein and mineral contents of isolate and concentrate whey protein supplements representative of the European market. The protein content was 70.9% (18–92.3%) and statistically significant differences were observed between the declared and real protein percentages. Among the minerals, K (4689.10 mg/kg) and Ca (3811.27 mg/kg) presented the highest levels, whereas Co (0.07 mg/kg) and V (0.04 mg/kg) showed the lowest levels. It was concluded that the quality and safety of these products needs to be monitored and regulated. A high degree of non-compliance with labelling claims was detected. Furthermore, the contributions to the recommended and tolerable intakes among regular consumers need to be assessed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals and Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE) in Foods)
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16 pages, 2791 KiB  
Article
Effects of Culinary Procedures on Concentrations and Bioaccessibility of Cu, Zn, and As in Different Food Ingredients
by Canchuan Zhang, Xi Miao, Sen Du, Ting Zhang, Lizhao Chen, Yang Liu and Li Zhang
Foods 2023, 12(8), 1653; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12081653 - 15 Apr 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1261
Abstract
Although cooked diets are the primary sources for humans to absorb trace elements, there is limited data available on the concentrations and bioaccessibility of trace elements in cooked food ingredients. This work aims to evaluate the effects of culinary procedures on the concentrations [...] Read more.
Although cooked diets are the primary sources for humans to absorb trace elements, there is limited data available on the concentrations and bioaccessibility of trace elements in cooked food ingredients. This work aims to evaluate the effects of culinary procedures on the concentrations and bioaccessibility of trace elements in common food ingredients. Twelve food species from the local market were treated with four culinary procedures (boiling, steaming, baking, and frying), then the bioaccessibility of copper (Cu), zinc (Zn), and arsenic (As) were evaluated using the in vitro digestion method. The subcellular distribution of these elements was also determined using the sequential fractionation method. The results show that culinary procedures decreased the retention rate of As during cooking (100% for raw and 65–89% for cooked ingredients) and the bioaccessibility of Cu and Zn during digestion (nearly 75% for raw and 49–65% for cooked ingredients), resulting in a reduction of the total bioaccessible fraction (TBF) of Cu, Zn, and As in food ingredients. The TBF of Cu, Zn, and As in all tested food ingredients followed the order: raw (76–80%) > steaming and baking (50–62%) > boiling and frying (41–50%). The effects of culinary procedures were associated with the subcellular distribution of trace elements. As was dominantly distributed in heat-stable proteins (51–71%), which were more likely to be lost during cooking. In comparison, Cu and Zn were mainly bound to the insoluble fraction and heat-denatured proteins (60–89% and 61–94% for Cu and Zn, respectively), which become less digestible in cooked ingredients. In conclusion, these results suggest that culinary procedures reduce the absorption of Cu, Zn, and As in various food ingredients, which should be considered in the coming studies related to nutrition and risk assessment of trace elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals and Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE) in Foods)
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11 pages, 1964 KiB  
Article
Relative Bioavailability of Cadmium in Rice: Assessment, Modeling, and Application for Risk Assessment
by Likun Yang, Xiaoyue Zhang, Di Zhao, Peng Wang and Fangjie Zhao
Foods 2023, 12(5), 984; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12050984 - 26 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1459
Abstract
Rice consumption is the primary route of cadmium (Cd) exposure to the populations with rice as the staple food. To accurately assess the potential health risks of Cd exposure via rice consumption, determination of Cd relative bioavailability (RBA) in rice is necessary. However, [...] Read more.
Rice consumption is the primary route of cadmium (Cd) exposure to the populations with rice as the staple food. To accurately assess the potential health risks of Cd exposure via rice consumption, determination of Cd relative bioavailability (RBA) in rice is necessary. However, large variations exist in Cd-RBA, hindering the application of source-specific Cd-RBA values to different rice samples. In this study, we collected 14 rice samples from Cd contaminated areas and determined both rice compositions and Cd-RBA using in vivo mouse bioassay. Total Cd concentration varied from 0.19 to 2.54 mg/kg in the 14 rice samples, while Cd-RBA in rice ranged from 42.10% to 76.29%. Cadmium-RBA in rice correlated positively with calcium (Ca) (R = 0.76) and amylose content (R = 0.75) but negatively with the concentrations of sulfur (R = −0.85), phosphorus (R = −0.73), phytic acid (R = −0.68), and crude protein (R = −0.53). Cd-RBA in rice can be predicted by Ca and phytic acid concentrations in a regression model (R2 = 0.80). Based on the total and bioavailable Cd concentrations in rice, weekly dietary Cd intake for adults was estimated to be 4.84–64.88 and 2.04–42.29 μg/kg bw/week, respectively. This work demonstrates the possibility of Cd-RBA prediction based on rice compositions and provides valuable suggestions for health risk assessment with consideration of Cd-RBA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals and Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE) in Foods)
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Review

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22 pages, 4468 KiB  
Review
Assessing Health Risks Associated with Heavy Metals in Food: A Bibliometric Analysis
by Elena L. Ungureanu, Andreea L. Mocanu, Corina A. Stroe, Denisa E. Duță and Gabriel Mustățea
Foods 2023, 12(21), 3974; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods12213974 - 30 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1594
Abstract
Bibliometric analysis is an effective method used to identify research trends based on historical publications that involves combining different frameworks, tools and methods, leading to the creation of different metrics. This study employed bibliometric analysis to investigate the global health risk assessment of [...] Read more.
Bibliometric analysis is an effective method used to identify research trends based on historical publications that involves combining different frameworks, tools and methods, leading to the creation of different metrics. This study employed bibliometric analysis to investigate the global health risk assessment of heavy metals in food from 2000 to 2022 using Web of Science and VOSviewer. We explore publication trends, affiliations, countries, journals, citations, keywords and author collaborations. Of the 573 publications on this topic, there has been a notable increase in recent years. The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (China) and Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences (Iran) are the most prolific affiliations. Environmental Science and Pollution Research is the top journal. Notably, “heavy metals”, “risk assessment”, “cadmium”, “lead”, and “trace elements” are frequently used keywords. A study by Miraglia et al. in 2009 received the most citations. Amin Mousavi Khaneghah (Poland) is the most prolific author, with 24 papers. Articles mainly focus on contamination levels in fish, seafood, cereals, dairy, meat, and fruit/vegetables. Some studies highlight potential risks, necessitating stricter food product controls for consumer safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Heavy Metals and Potentially Toxic Elements (PTE) in Foods)
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