Determination of arsenic, selenium and cadmium in some Turkish spices by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry

Şenol, Feriye
The major source of all the nutrient elements for human body is the daily diet which is affected by age, sex, and health status, geographic and climatic conditions. It is important to analyze food items in order to determine their elemental contents, estimate their dietary intakes and compare with recommended or tolerated intake values in order to limit or increase their consumption. Spices are taken from different parts of plants and widely used in cooking processes. They are convenient samples to investigate the distribution of elements among different parts of plants and to evaluate their daily intakes. Arsenic and selenium are both essential and toxic elements whereas cadmium is considered to be toxic to human health. The recommended dietary allowance (RDA) level of selenium ranges from 50 to 200 μg/day. The RDA level of arsenic is set to be 100-200 μg/day for adults to meet the requirements. The weekly tolerable intake of cadmium and arsenic are 7 and 15 μg/kg, respectively whereas selenium is toxic when intake is greater than 750 μg/day . In this study the analysis of a variety of Anatolian spices including daisy (Chamomillae Vulgaris), bay leaf (Folium Lauri), mint (Folium Menthane), rosehip (Rosae Caninae), sage (Folium Salviae Officinalis), thyme (Herba Thymi), cumin (Fructus Cummuni), sumac (Folium Rhois Coriariae), linden flower (Flos Tilliae) v and black pepper (Piper Nigrum) were performed and As, Cd and Se levels were determined by using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). The results obtained were evaluated together with the results of previous studies for determination of Na, K, Mg, Ca, Li, Zn, Fe, Cu, B, Hg, Pb and Mn by inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICPOES) and atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS). Samples were digested in microwave oven in optimized concentrations of HNO3 and H2O2. microwave temperature program was optimized to maximize digestion efficiency. Samples were analyzed by using direct calibration method for cadmium and standard addition method for arsenic and selenium considering the effect of HNO3 concentration on ICP-MS signals. The accuracy of the methods was checked by using Oyster Tissue 1566b SRM for cadmium and arsenic and BCR Human Hair, 397 SRM for selenium. The mean arsenic and selenium levels were found to be in the range of 100-500 μg/ kg whereas cadmium levels were relatively lower falling in a range of 10-100 μg/ kg with few exceptions. In order to investigate the effects of spectral and nonspectral interferences on arsenic signals interference studies were performed by using HCl, NaCl, NaNO3, CsCl, CsNO3, LiCl and LiNO3. Statistical evaluations were performed on data in order to detect on significant trends.


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Determination of thallium is important due to its toxic effects on the environment and human health. Extremely low abundance of thallium in earth crust requires very sensitive and accurate methods for determination of this element. Although volatile compound generation is a sensitive, fast and economical method, thallium determination by this method has not been sufficiently investigated in literature, because of the fact that the formation of volatile forms of this element is a difficult task. A continuous...
Citation Formats
F. Şenol, “Determination of arsenic, selenium and cadmium in some Turkish spices by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2010.