Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 22, pp 5675–5687 | Cite as

Speciation analysis of arsenic in seafood and seaweed: Part I—evaluation and optimization of methods

  • Mesay Mulugeta Wolle
  • Sean D. ConklinEmail author
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Food Safety Analysis


Several extraction and chromatographic methods were evaluated to identify optimum conditions for arsenic speciation analysis in seafood and seaweed. The extraction systems, which include aqueous, aqueous-organic, acidic, basic, and enzymatic solutions, were examined for their efficiency in extracting arsenic from finfish, crustaceans, molluscs, and seaweed keeping the chemical forms of the native arsenicals intact. While dilute solutions of nitric acid, hydrochloric acid, and tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) extract high fractions of arsenic from most of the matrices, the extractants oxidized arsenite (As3+) to arsenate (As5+) and converted some arsenosugars and non-polar arsenicals to known and/or unknown forms. Hot water (90 °C) effectively maintained the integrity of the native arsenic species and enabled analysis of the extracts with no further manipulation than filtration and dilution. Stepwise extraction of water-soluble and non-polar arsenic with hot water and a mixture of dichloromethane and methanol, respectively, resulted in sufficiently quantitative (> 75%) arsenic extraction from seafood and seaweed. Anion and cation exchange chromatographic methods were optimized for separation and quantitation of the arsenicals extracted into hot water. The non-polar arsenicals were collectively determined after digesting the extract in acid. The application of the optimum extraction and chromatographic conditions was demonstrated by analyzing certified reference materials of tuna fish tissue (BCR 627), lobster hepatopancreas (TORT-2) and oyster tissue (SRM 1566b), and a sample of hijiki seaweed. For all the matrices, good agreement (80–92%) was found between the total water-soluble arsenic and the sum of the concentrations of the chromatographed species. Limits of quantification (LOQ) were in the range 4–11 ng g−1 for 16 arsenicals.


Arsenic Seafood Seaweed Speciation Evaluation 



The authors thank Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for financial support.

Dr. Anne Eischeid and Sarah Stadig (Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA) provided and barcoded the seafood samples, respectively. Dr. Kevin Kubachka (Forensic Chemistry Center, FDA) kindly provided the arsenosugar solutions.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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© This is a U.S. Government work and not under copyright protection in the US; foreign copyright protection may apply 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Bioanalytical Chemistry, Office of Regulatory Science, Center for Food Safety and Applied NutritionUS Food and Drug AdministrationCollege ParkUSA

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