Determination and Assessment of Macro, Trace Elements and Toxic Heavy Metal Content in Foods

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 April 2021) | Viewed by 29425

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Pediatrics, Preventive Medicine and Public Health, Toxicology, Forensic and Legal Medicine and Parasitology, Toxicology Area, University of La Laguna, 38200 Canary Islands, Spain
Interests: toxicology; risk evaluation; metals; contaminants; food safety; enviromental toxicology; food protection; healthy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

In our days, the main route of exposure of pollutants in humans is the food route. It is vitally important to monitor the presence of these contaminants in food. Heavy metals, macroelements and microelements, and trace elements are among the most important inorganic contaminants for human health. Although toxic heavy metals have no known function in human metabolism, the trace elements depend on the concentration at which they are found to be poisonous or present health risks. Therefore, it is very important to determine the presence and concentrations of this type of inorganic contaminants in food, and if they are consistent with the laws in force in each country, it is also of great importance to be able to assess the risk of the presence of such contaminants in food for consumers. Finally, and taking into account the behavior as hormetins of many of the macroelements and trace elements, it is also considered important to determine the contribution to the recommended daily intakes of these elements in order to verify that there is no risk of affecting human health by excess or by deficit of these elements.

Prof. Dr. Ángel José Gutiérrez Fernández
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Heavy metals
  • Macroelements
  • Microelements
  • Risk evaluation
  • Contaminants in foods
  • Human health

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 386 KiB  
Article
Energy Content and Nutrient Profiles of Frequently Consumed Meals in Singapore
by Penny Liu Qing Yeo, Xinyan Bi, Michelle Ting Yun Yeo and Christiani Jeyakumar Henry
Foods 2021, 10(7), 1659; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10071659 - 19 Jul 2021
Viewed by 5021
Abstract
Singapore is a multi-ethnic country with a great variety of traditional ethnic cuisines. In this modern society where there is an increasing prevalence of obesity, it is important to know the nutritional content and energy density of our foods. However, there have been [...] Read more.
Singapore is a multi-ethnic country with a great variety of traditional ethnic cuisines. In this modern society where there is an increasing prevalence of obesity, it is important to know the nutritional content and energy density of our foods. However, there have been little data on the nutritional content of our local foods. The energy density and nutrient content of 45 commonly consumed meals by three ethnic groups in Singapore (Chinese, Malay, and Indian) were assessed in this study. Chinese, Malay, and Indian cuisines had an average energy density of 661, 652, and 723 kJ/100 g, respectively. Moreover, the macronutrient content is different between the different ethnic groups. Compared to Chinese and Malay cuisines, Indian cuisine contained lower protein but higher fat and carbohydrate content (p = 0.03). From the mineral analysis of the ethnic foods, we found out that Chinese cuisines contain significantly higher sodium (average of 238 mg/100 g) than Malay cuisines (p = 0.006) and Indian cuisines (p = 0.03). Knowing the caloric density and nutrition content of local ethnic foods may aid hawkers and government officials in developing healthier options to tackle Singapore’s obesity epidemic. Full article
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10 pages, 2194 KiB  
Article
Human Exposure to Toxic Metals (Al, Cd, Cr, Ni, Pb, Sr) from the Consumption of Cereals in Canary Islands
by Carmen Rubio-Armendáriz, Soraya Paz, Ángel J. Gutiérrez, Dailos González-Weller, Consuelo Revert and Arturo Hardisson
Foods 2021, 10(6), 1158; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061158 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2379
Abstract
The Canary Islands is an archipelago that consumes cereals and derivatives imported from other regions of the world. The increase in contamination with toxic metals makes it necessary to assess the content of toxicological metals of interest to ensure quality and safety. The [...] Read more.
The Canary Islands is an archipelago that consumes cereals and derivatives imported from other regions of the world. The increase in contamination with toxic metals makes it necessary to assess the content of toxicological metals of interest to ensure quality and safety. The content of toxic metals (Al, Cd, Cr, Pb, Ni, Sr) was determined in 221 samples of cereals and derivatives (corn, wheat, gofio, corn gofio, barley gofio, roasted corn and flour) marketed in the Canary Islands using ICP-OES (inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry) to assess dietary exposure. Al content recorded in barley gofio (29.5 mg/kg fresh weight) stands out. The estimated daily intake (EDI) of Pb is 52 µg/day if 100 g/day of barley gofio is consumed (121% and 240% of the BMDL nephrotoxicity limit set by the EFSA at 0.63 µg/kg body weight/day for adults and children, respectively). The EDI of PB is 16 µg/day if 30 g barley gofio/day is consumed by adults (36.2% of the abovementioned BMDL nephrotoxicity limit). The EDI of Pb is 7.8 µg/day if 15 g barley gofio/day is consumed by children (32.2% of the abovementioned BMDL nephrotoxicity limit). Gofio is a food of high nutritional value. It is necessary to establish monitoring programs for toxic metals in raw materials and processed products to reduce exposure levels. Full article
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19 pages, 2283 KiB  
Article
Metal Contents in Fish from the Bay of Bengal and Potential Consumer Exposure—The EAF-Nansen Programme
by Amalie Moxness Reksten, Zillur Rahman, Marian Kjellevold, Esther Garrido Gamarro, Shakuntala H. Thilsted, Lauren M. Pincus, Inger Aakre, John Ryder, Sujeewa Ariyawansa, Anna Nordhagen and Anne-Katrine Lundebye
Foods 2021, 10(5), 1147; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10051147 - 20 May 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 3945
Abstract
Fish represent an important part of the Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi diet. However, fish is also a source of contaminants that may constitute a health risk to consumers. The aim of this study was to analyse the contents of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and [...] Read more.
Fish represent an important part of the Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi diet. However, fish is also a source of contaminants that may constitute a health risk to consumers. The aim of this study was to analyse the contents of arsenic, cadmium, mercury, and lead in 24 commonly consumed marine fish species from the Bay of Bengal and to assess the potential health risk associated with their consumption. Mercury and lead contents did not exceed the maximum limits for any of the sampled species, and consumer exposure from estimated daily consumption was assessed to be minimal for adults and children. Numerous samples exceeded the maximum limit for cadmium (58%), particularly those of small size (≤25 cm). However, consumer exposure was insignificant, and health assessment showed no risk connected to consumption. These data represent an important contribution to future risk/benefit assessments related to the consumption of fish. Full article
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17 pages, 1040 KiB  
Article
Detection, Distribution and Health Risk Assessment of Toxic Heavy Metals/Metalloids, Arsenic, Cadmium, and Lead in Goat Carcasses Processed for Human Consumption in South-Eastern Nigeria
by Emmanuel O. Njoga, Ekene V. Ezenduka, Chiazor G. Ogbodo, Chukwuka U. Ogbonna, Ishmael F. Jaja, Anthony C. Ofomatah and Charles Odilichukwu R. Okpala
Foods 2021, 10(4), 798; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040798 - 8 Apr 2021
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3974
Abstract
Notwithstanding the increased toxic heavy metals/metalloids (THMs) accumulation in (edible) organs owed to goat′s feeding habit and anthropogenic activities, the chevon remains increasingly relished as a special delicacy in Nigeria. Specific to the South-Eastern region, however, there is paucity of relevant data regarding [...] Read more.
Notwithstanding the increased toxic heavy metals/metalloids (THMs) accumulation in (edible) organs owed to goat′s feeding habit and anthropogenic activities, the chevon remains increasingly relished as a special delicacy in Nigeria. Specific to the South-Eastern region, however, there is paucity of relevant data regarding the prevalence of THMs in goat carcasses processed for human consumption. This work was, therefore, aimed to investigate the detection, distribution and health risk assessment of THMs in goat carcass processed for human consumption in South-Eastern Nigeria. To achieve this, a total of 450 meat samples (kidney, liver and muscle) were evaluated from 150 randomly selected goat carcasses processed in two major slaughterhouses in Enugu State. The detection, distribution, as well as health risk assessment parameters followed standard procedures. Results revealed that at least one THM was detected in 56% of the carcasses. Mean concentrations of arsenic (As) were 0.53 ± 0.10 mg/kg, 0.57 ± 0.09 mg/kg and 0.45 ± 0.08 mg/kg, lead (Pb) were 0.48 ± 0.38 mg/kg, 0.45 ± 0.24 mg/kg and 0.82 ± 0.39 mg/kg, cadmium (Cd) was 0.06 ± 0.32 mg/kg, 0.02 ± 0.00 mg/kg, and 0.02 ± 0.00 mg/kg for kidney, liver and muscle tissues, respectively. The estimated daily intakes (EDI) for all THMs were above the recommended safe limits. The target hazard quotient (THQ) and hazard index (HI) computed for all As, Cd and Pb fell below unity in all the studied organs, which indicated no non-carcinogenic risks. Curtailing the anthropogenic activities that aid the THM-contamination in goat production/processing lines is recommended. Screening for THM-contamination in Nigerian slaughterhouses is imperative, so as to ascertain the toxicological safety of meats intended for human consumption. Full article
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15 pages, 262 KiB  
Article
Evaluation of Element Concentrations in Beef and Pork Meat Cuts Available to the Population in the Croatian Capital
by Nina Bilandžić, Marija Sedak, Bruno Čalopek, Maja Đokić, Ivana Varenina, Božica Solomun Kolanović, Đurđica Božić Luburić, Ines Varga and Alessandra Roncarati
Foods 2020, 9(12), 1861; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121861 - 13 Dec 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2756
Abstract
The aim of this study was to determine the concentrations of essential, trace, and toxic elements in beef and pork meat cuts available at markets and retail chains in the Croatian capital. Significant differences in the concentrations of Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mg, [...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to determine the concentrations of essential, trace, and toxic elements in beef and pork meat cuts available at markets and retail chains in the Croatian capital. Significant differences in the concentrations of Al, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Mo, Ni, Se, Pb, and Zn were found between bovine cuts (p < 0.01, all) and also between pork cuts (p < 0.01, all). A risk assessment using the estimated intakes based on the lowest and highest mean values of Al, Cr, Ni, and Pb in beef and pork showed low contributions to tolerable toxicological limits. However, consumers whose diets consist of large amounts of beef and pork kidneys may be at risk because the estimated intakes for Cd and Se exceeded the toxicological limits. Consumers of large quantities of beef mixed meat may be at risk due to higher values of estimated As intakes compared to health-based guidance values. Estimation based on the provisional maximum tolerable daily intake values for Cu, Fe, and Zn showed that beef and pork cuts can be considered safe for consumption. A comparison with data from other studies shows that the concentrations of the analyzed elements in beef and pork cuts vary considerably. Full article
12 pages, 810 KiB  
Article
Determination of Mercury in Fish Sauces by Thermal Decomposition Gold Amalgamation Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy after Preconcentration by Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films Technique
by Pavel Diviš, Marek Reichstädter, Yue Gao, Martine Leermakers and Jakub Křikala
Foods 2020, 9(12), 1858; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121858 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3309
Abstract
The analysis of mercury in food presents a challenge for analytical chemists. Sample pre-treatment and the preconcentration of mercury prior to measurement are required, even when highly sensitive analytical methods are used. In this work, the Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films technique (DGT), [...] Read more.
The analysis of mercury in food presents a challenge for analytical chemists. Sample pre-treatment and the preconcentration of mercury prior to measurement are required, even when highly sensitive analytical methods are used. In this work, the Diffusive Gradients in Thin Films technique (DGT), combined with thermal decomposition gold amalgamation atomic absorption spectrometry (TDA-AAS), was investigated for the determination of the total dissolved mercury in fish sauces. Moreover, a new type of binding gel with Purolite S924 resin was used in DGT. Linearity assays for DGT provided determination coefficients around 0.995. Repeatability tests showed a relative standard deviation of less than 10%. pH values in the range of 3–6, as well as NaCl concentrations up to 50 g·L−1, did not affect the performance of DGT. The effective diffusion coefficient of mercury in five-fold diluted fish sauce was determined to be (3.42 ± 0.23)·10−6 cm2·s−1. Based on the 24 h deployment time of DGT, the limit of detection (LOD) for the investigated method was 0.071 µg·L−1. The proposed method, which combines DGT and TDA-AAS, allows for the analysis of fish sauces with mercury concentrations below the LOD of TDA-AAS, and significantly reduces the wear and corrosion of the TDA-AAS components. Full article
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10 pages, 502 KiB  
Article
Content and Dietary Exposure Assessment of Toxic Elements in Infant Formulas from the Chinese Market
by Chuanyou Su, Nan Zheng, Yanan Gao, Shengnan Huang, Xue Yang, Ziwei Wang, Hongjian Yang and Jiaqi Wang
Foods 2020, 9(12), 1839; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121839 - 10 Dec 2020
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 2635
Abstract
In this study, the content of chromium (Cr), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) in domestic and imported infant formulas from Beijing, China were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The content of Cr, As, Cd and Pb was 2.51–83.80, 0.89–7.87, [...] Read more.
In this study, the content of chromium (Cr), arsenic (As), cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) in domestic and imported infant formulas from Beijing, China were analyzed using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry. The content of Cr, As, Cd and Pb was 2.51–83.80, 0.89–7.87, 0.13–3.58 and 0.36–5.57 μg/kg, respectively. Even though there were no significant differences in toxic elements content between domestic and imported infant formulas, Cd content was slightly lower in domestic samples. The estimated daily intake (EDI), target hazard quotient (THQ) and hazard index (HI) were calculated for infants between 0.5 and 5 y of age. The EDIs were lower than the oral reference doses. THQ of As, Cr, Cd and Pb was 0.027–0.103, 0.024–0.093, 0.0025–0.0090 and 0.0015–0.0046, respectively. HI values were 0.055–0.192 for boys and 0.056–0.209 for girls and were inversely associated with age with a threshold < 1. The non-carcinogenic risk value were in the safe range, indicating that exposure of As, Pb, Cr and Cd from infant formulas do not represent a health risk in China. Full article
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16 pages, 2685 KiB  
Article
Energy Density and Nutrient Contents of Selective Chinese New Year Snacks
by Michelle Ting Yun Yeo, Penny Liu Qing Yeo, Xinyan Bi and Christiani Jeyakumar Henry
Foods 2020, 9(8), 1137; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9081137 - 18 Aug 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 4228
Abstract
Background: In this study, the energy density and nutrient contents of thirty Chinese New Year (CNY) snacks commonly consumed in the Asian region during the CNY festive season were measured. Methods: Calorie Answer™, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) [...] Read more.
Background: In this study, the energy density and nutrient contents of thirty Chinese New Year (CNY) snacks commonly consumed in the Asian region during the CNY festive season were measured. Methods: Calorie Answer™, Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) and Inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) were the main methods applied in this study. Results: All snacks showed high energy density (kJ/100 g) and the nutrient content, including macro-and micronutrients of these snacks were remarkably different. The most abundant minerals in these snacks include sodium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Palmitic (C16:0), oleic (C18:1) and linoleic (C18:2) acids were the main fatty acids and trans-fat was only identified in Butter cookies. Conclusions: This study provides a large database on macro- and micronutrient contents in CNY snacks consumed in the Asian region that has not been previously reported. Our results indicate that the snacks were generally energy-dense and nutrient-poor. This study provides necessary information to enable the reformulation of snacks with lower saturated fat and sodium content. It is also a source of information for consumers to select healthier snacks. Full article
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