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Trace Element Speciation Analysis


Presently, European legislation on trace elements concerning food safety is mainly based on total element concentrations expressed as maximum levels. So far only four elements are included in the regulation; cadmium, lead, mercury and tin. However, information on the total content of an element does not always provide adequate information for evaluation of e.g. bioavailability and toxicity. These parameters may vary quite significantly depending on how the element is bound, i.e. its speciation, defined as the distribution of an element amongst defined chemical species in a system. The most important practical application of elemental speciation is in the area of toxicology and with the help of more detailed toxicological knowledge on the individual chemical elemental species should lead to more specific legislation. Arsenic is an illustrative example, where inorganic arsenic is considered as the most toxic species and organic bound arsenicals are considered to have only intermediate toxicity or even innocous. There is consequently a growing need for analytical methods for selective determination of inorganic arsenic in order to perform a correct risk assessment of dietary exposure. The present lecture will use this and other examples from speciation analysis in food/feed matrices. Both the present situation for speciation analysis in the food and feed area as well as expected future developments within this emerging scientific area will be discussed.

about 1 year ago

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