, Volume 377, Issue 1, pp 6-13
Date: 27 Jun 2003

Benefits of high resolution IC–ICP–MS for the routine analysis of inorganic and organic arsenic species in food products of marine and terrestrial origin

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A recently developed and validated method for simultaneous determination of 17 inorganic and organic arsenic compounds in marine biota has been successfully applied to routine analysis of different food products, including fish, shellfish, edible algae, rice, and other types of grain. During one year, approximately 250 food samples were analyzed, mostly fish and rice. Long-term stability and robustness of the system was observed and reproducible results for certified reference materials were ensured by means of control charts. The separation was performed by ion-pair chromatography on an anion-exchange column to separate anionic, neutral, and cationic arsenic species in one chromatographic run. Hyphenation to ICP–MS allowed element-specific and sensitive detection of the different arsenic species with a detection limit as low as 8 ng As L−1 in the sample extract, which is equivalent to 2 ng As g−1 in the original sample. Special emphasis was laid on the analysis of marine algae and rice samples. These food types can contain elevated levels of the very toxic inorganic arsenic species (up to 90% in rice) and therefore are the focus of interest in the food industry. In marine algae, inorganic arsenic was mainly present as arsenate whereas in rice arsenite predominated.