Journal of Radioanalytical and Nuclear Chemistry

, Volume 297, Issue 3, pp 383–391 | Cite as

Selenium content of Argentinean infant formulae and baby foods by pseudo-cyclic instrumental neutron activation analysis coupled to Compton suppression

  • S. Hevia
  • S. Resnizky
  • A. ChattEmail author


The selenium levels of Argentinean infant formulae and baby food were measured using the 162-keV gamma-ray of 77mSe (t ½ = 17.4 s) by a pseudo-cyclic instrumental neutron activation analysis (PC-INAA) method in conjunction with Compton suppression spectrometry (CSS). For comparison purposes, 5 selected infant formulae were also analyzed for selenium by a radiochemical neutron activation analysis (RNAA) method. The selenium levels for three samples agreed between ±2.8 and 6.5 % while the other two differed by 12 and 17 % which could perhaps be attributed to sample inhomogeneity. The selenium content of cow milk-based infant formulae varied from 42–146 μg kg−1 compared to 52–63 μg kg−1 for soy-based milk formulae. In the case of baby foods, the selenium levels varied from 34 to 74 μg kg−1. The detection limits for selenium by PC-INAA–CSS for all the samples analyzed in this work were between 8.5 and 65 μg kg−1 depending on the major elements present in the samples, while it was 20 μg kg−1 for the RNAA method. The expanded uncertainty (κ = 2) of the PC-INAA–CSS method was 7.0 % at the end of cycle #4 for a sample containing 73.7 μg kg−1 selenium compared to the RNAA value of 24.2 % for a sample of 67.0 μg kg−1 selenium content.


Selenium PC-INAA–CSS RNAA Infant formula Baby food Expanded uncertainty 



The authors wish to thank the (i) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for financial support (Project: ARG/00023P) in the form of an IAEA-Fellowship to Ms. Sonia Hevia, (ii) Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada for research Operating/Discovery grants to A. Chatt; (iii) Dalhousie University SLOWPOKE-2 Reactor (DUSR) facility for irradiations, and (iv) Patricia Romayne de Ferrer of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina for providing the samples. We are also grateful to Drs. Jiri Holzbecher, Raghunath Acharya and Keila Isaac-Olive for their useful suggestions and guidance.


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Copyright information

© Akadémiai Kiadó, Budapest, Hungary 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Trace Analysis Research Centre, Department of ChemistryDalhousie UniversityHalifaxCanada
  2. 2.Nuclear Analytical Techniques, Ezeiza Atomic CentreNational Commission of Atomic EnergyBuenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Research and DevelopmentPetro-Canada Lubricants Inc.MississaugaCanada

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