Occurrence of nitrate in vegetables and dietary exposure assessment for the Cypriot adolescent consumers
In this study, a simple, rapid and sensitive ion chromatography method was used for the determination of mass fraction nitrate (mg kg−1) in 396 samples of vegetables. The method performance characteristics were determined after spiking blank samples. The mean recoveries in vegetables ranged from 94.0 % to 108.7 %. Limits of detection and quantification were 10 mg kg−1 and 30 mg kg−1, respectively. The results showed the mass fraction nitrate in vegetables was in the range of 10 mg kg−1–5619 mg kg−1. Leafy, root and stem vegetables, and herbs were the most contaminated, compared to other vegetables. Approximately 87 % of the samples were contaminated with nitrate; however, none of the samples analyzed was above the maximum limits for nitrate in vegetables. The dietary nitrate intake through consumption of vegetables was estimated for the adolescent population in Cyprus. The mean and 95th percentile intake values, based on median nitrate concentrations, were 1.12 kg d−1 and 3.42 mg kg−1 d−1, respectively. A small percentage (3.3 %) of the adolescent population had a nitrate intake above the Acceptable Daily Intake (3.7 mg kg−1 d−1). Lettuce and other leafy vegetables (spinach, rucola, purslane, beet leaves) contributed nearly 60 % to the overall nitrate exposure (mg kg−1 d−1).
KeywordsNitrate Vegetables Ion chromatography Dietary exposure
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Cyprus Government and Ministry of Health for financial support.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- 5.Commission Regulation (EC) No. 1881/2006 of 19 December 2006 setting maximum levels for certain contaminants in foodstuffs, OJ L 364, 20 December 2006, p 5Google Scholar
- 6.Official Methods of Analysis (2005) 18th Ed., AOAC INTERNATIONAL, Gaithersburg, MD, Method 993.03Google Scholar
- 10.Chou S, Chung JC, Hwang DF (2003) A high performance liquid chromatography method for determining nitrate and nitrite levels in vegetables. J Food Drug Anal 11:233–238Google Scholar
- 18.Commission Regulation (EC) No 1882/2006 of 19 December 2006 laying down methods of sampling and analysis for the official control of the levels of nitrates in certain foodstuffs, OJ L 364, 20 December 2006, p 25–31Google Scholar
- 20.EFSA Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) (2010) Scientific Opinion on possible health risks for infants and young children from the presence of nitrates in leafy vegetables. EFSA J 8(12):1935Google Scholar
- 21.Casanova JA, Gross LK, Mcmullen SE, Schenck FJ (2006) Use of griess reagent containing vanadium(III) for post-column derivatization and simultaneous determination of nitrite and nitrate in baby food. J AOAC Int 89(2):447–451Google Scholar
- 28.Nowrouz P, Taghipour H, Dastgiri S, Bafandeh Y, Hashemimajd K (2012) Nitrate determination of vegetables in Varzeghan City, North-western Iran. Health Promot Perspect 2(2):244–250Google Scholar
- 30.Ioannou-Kakouri E, Aletrari M, Christou E (2006) Risk assessment of the dietary intake of lead, cadmium, mercury and nitrates in Cyprus and the relevant uncertainty. http://www.moh.gov.cy/Moh/fsc/fsc.nsf/All/0AD54F14D78FA3C8C2257A93003A8387/$file/Risk%20assessment%20of%20lead,%20cadmium,%20mercury%20and%20nitrates.pdf. Accessed 14 July 2017
- 32.FSANZ (Food Safety Authority of New Zealand) (2011) Survey of nitrates and nitrites in food and beverages in Australia. http://www.foodstandards.gov.au/science/surveillance/pages/surveyofnitratesandn5368.aspx. Accessed 6 July 2017
- 33.Suomi J, Ranta J, Tuominen P, Hallikainen A, Putkonen T, Bäckman C, Ovaskainen M-L, Virtanen S, Savela K (2013) Quantitative risk assessment on dietary exposure of children and adults to nitrate and nitrite. Evira Research Reports 2/2013. Helsinki: Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira. https://www.evira.fi/globalassets/tietoa-evirasta/julkaisut/julkaisusarjat/elintarvikkeet/kvantitatiivinen-riskinarviointi-lasten-ja-aikuisten-altistumisesta-nitraatille-ja-nitriitille.pdf. Accessed 21 July 2017
- 34.EFSA, Scientific Panel on Contaminants in the Food Chain (CONTAM) (2008) Opinion of the scientific panel on contaminants in the food chain on a request from the European Commission to perform a scientific risk assessment on nitrate in vegetables. EFSA J 689:1–79Google Scholar
- 35.EFSA ANS Panel (EFSA Panel on Food Additives and Nutrient Sources added to Food), Mortensen A et al (2017) Scientific Opinion on the re-evaluation of sodium nitrate (E 251) and potassium nitrate (E 252) as food additives. EFSA J 15(6):4787Google Scholar
- 36.Hong Kong - Centre for Food Safety (CFS) (2010) Nitrate and nitrite in vegetables available in Hong Kong, food and environmental hygiene department, the government of the Hong Kong special administrative region. http://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rafs/files/Nitrate_and_Nitrite_Vegetables_Available_HK_e.pdf. Accessed 20 July 2017
- 37.EFSA (2006) Guidance of the Scientific Committee on a request from EFSA related to Uncertainties in Dietary Exposure Assessment. EFSA J 438:1–54Google Scholar
- 38.Ekart K, Hmelak Gorenjak A, Madorran E, Lapajne S, Langerholc T (2013) Study on the influence of food processing on mass fraction nitrate in vegetables. EFSA supporting publication 2013: EN-514 https://www.efsa.europa.eu/en/supporting/pub/en-514. Accessed 26 July 2017