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Sci Total Environ. 2017 Sep 4. pii: S0048-9697(17)32338-0. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.08.320. [Epub ahead of print]

Elemental and radiological characterization of commercial Cetraria islandica (L.) Acharius pharmaceutical and food supplementation products.

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Biomolecular Sciences Department, Urbino University "Carlo Bo", P.zza Rinascimento 6, 61029 Urbino, Italy.
CNR-ICMATE, Corso Stati Uniti 4, 35127 Padova, Italy.
Biomolecular Sciences Department, Urbino University "Carlo Bo", P.zza Rinascimento 6, 61029 Urbino, Italy. Electronic address:


An elemental and radiological characterization was performed on Cetraria islandica (L.) Ach. pharmaceutical and food supplementation products purchased in local specialty shops in Italy. Essential elements (K, Ca, P, S, Cl, Mn, Fe, Cu, Zn, Ni, Br, I) and nonessential or toxic elements (Al, Ti, Si, Rb, Sr, As, Cd, Sn, and Pb) were determined by Energy Dispersive Polarized X-Ray Fluorescence Spectrometry; natural radionuclides (238U, 234U, 230Th, 210Po, 232Th, and 228Th) were determined by alpha spectrometry. The results show that C. islandica, whose nutritional value was assessed referring to recommended nutrient intakes, could serve as an important source of essential elements. Moreover, as expected, lichens concentrate airborne 210Po, whose activity ranged from 132 to 489Bqkg-1dw. This value was much higher than those reported by UNSCEAR for leafy vegetables in the world. In addition, total As and Cd were <1mgkg-1dw and Pb mean concentration was 9.25mgkg-1dw. Health risks associated with the toxic elements contained in C. islandica (L.) products were calculated using risk estimators. Their contribution to total elemental intake does not appear to pose a threat, but the concentrations of these elements should be continuously monitored to protect consumers against potential adverse health effects.


Essential elements; Nutraceutical; Radioisotopes; Toxic elements

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