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J Agric Food Chem. 2019 Mar 6;67(9):2670-2678. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.8b06062. Epub 2019 Feb 20.

Factors Affecting Transfer of the Heavy Metals Arsenic, Lead, and Cadmium from Diatomaceous-Earth Filter Aids to Alcoholic Beverages during Laboratory-Scale Filtration.

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Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Office of Food Safety, Division of Food Processing Science and Technology , U.S. Food and Drug Administration , 6502 South Archer Road , Bedford Park , Illinois 60501 , United States.
Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Scientific Services Division , U.S. Department of the Treasury , 6000 Ammendale Road , Beltsville , Maryland 20705 , United States.


Filtration methods for alcoholic fermented beverages often use filter aids such as diatomaceous earth (DE), which may contain elevated amounts of the heavy metals arsenic (As), lead (Pb), and cadmium (Cd). Here, we evaluated factors affecting transfer of these heavy metals from DE to beer and wine. A laboratory-scale filtration system was used to process unfiltered ale, lager, red wine, and white wine with three types of food-grade DE. Filtrate and DE were analyzed for heavy metals using ICP-MS, in addition to LC-ICP-MS for As-speciation analysis. Use of 2 g/L DE containing 5.4 mg/kg soluble inorganic As (iAs) for filtering beer and wine resulted in significant ( p < 0.05) increases of 11.2-13.7 μg/L iAs in the filtered beverage. There was a significant ( p < 0.05) effect from the DE quantity used in filtration on the transfer of iAs in all beverage types, whereas no alterations were observed for Pb and Cd levels. Methods to wash DE using water, citric acid, or EDTA all significantly ( p < 0.05) reduced iAs concentrations, whereas only EDTA significantly reduced Pb levels. Cd concentrations were not affected by any wash method. These data indicate that specific steps can be taken to limit heavy-metal transfer from DE filter aids to beer and wine.


beer; cadmium; diatomaceous earth; filter aids; heavy metals; inorganic arsenic; lead; wine

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