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Shokuhin Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2008 Apr;49(2):88-94.

Nitric acid-based partial-digestion method for selective determination of inorganic arsenic in hijiki and application to soaked hijiki.

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National Institute of Health Sciences, Tokyo, Japan.


Because there is a great difference between the toxicity of inorganic arsenic (As) and organic As in food, the JECFA has set a PTWI value for inorganic As (iAs) rather than for total As. The difference in As toxicity makes it necessary to extract iAs completely from food samples for toxicological analysis, but complete extraction of As from most foods including seaweed has not been achieved to date. We developed a partial-digestion method that uses nitric acid as a solvent in order to extract almost all arsenicals from the solid matrix of hijiki (Hizikia fusiforme, a brown alga) samples. In this method, organic As species were not converted into iAs. HPLC/ICP-MS was then used to determine the concentration of iAs. Total As was measured by hydride generation-atomic absorption spectrometry. The adopted conditions for 0.1 g of ground fine powder sample were: 2 mL of 0.3 mol/L nitric acid; heating, 80 degrees C for 1 hr. Intra-laboratory validation of the method showed good precision and accuracy. The repeatability and intermediate precision for iAs were 1.5% and 1.5%, respectively. The LOD and LOQ for iAs were 0.14 and 0.46 mg/kg dry weight, respectively. Recovery studies performed by spiking 0.5 mg/kg dry weight as the LOQ level and by spiking 3 mg/kg dry weight as the iAs concentration of an un-spiked hijiki sample showed good accuracy. The method was applied to hijiki samples after a water soaking process and a water soaking and simmering process. The results suggested that the As concentration in hijiki after both processes was lower than that before the treatments and that the water soaking and simmering process reduced the iAs concentration much more effectively than the water soaking process.

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