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Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 191-202

Published online 2012-01-10

Determination of inorganic arsenic in seafood: Emphasizing the need for certified reference materials

Ásta Heiðrún Pétursdóttir1,2, Helga Gunnlaugsdóttir1, Hrönn Jörundsdóttir1, Andrea Raab2, Eva M. Krupp2 and Jörg Feldmann2*

1 Food Safety, Environment and Genetics Department, Matís. Vínlandsleið 12, 113 Reykjavik, Iceland
2 TESLA (Trace Element Speciation Laboratory), University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen AB24 3UE, Scotland, UK

Abstract: To evaluate the accuracy and robustness of an extraction method, utilizing an -alkaline-ethanolic solution and microwave heating, the certified reference material (CRM) TORT-2 was subjected to three different instrumental methodologies: high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), coupled with and without post-column hydride generation; inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS); and HPLC-hydride generation-atomic fluorescence spectrometry (HPLC-HG-AFS). The three methods gave a consistent value of inorganic arsenic (As) which is near the mean value of the reported values in the literature, which, however, range by a factor of 10. Inorganic As, defined here as all As species that do not have an As–C bond, that is, the sum of arsenite and arsenate and any thiol-bound As, was found to be less than 4 % of total As concentration in 12 samples of fish meal when subjected to this extraction method followed by HPLC-ICP-MS. To date, there is no certified value of inorganic As in a seafood-based reference material to compare to in order to validate the findings. This illustrates the difficulties in quantitative determination of inorganic As in seafood and the need for a reference material for inorganic As and proficiency tests in order to introduce legislation for a maximum level of inorganic As in seafood and feed.