A group of researchers from France and Denmark have investigated the effect of several cooking procedures on the speciation of chromium in food. The results of their study clearly showed that no oxidation to Cr(VI) occurs during the cooking procedures.
Chromium is a very controversial transition element in food chemistry due to the very different toxicities of its main species. While Cr(VI) is classified to be carcinogenic, Cr(III) is part of some nutritional supplements considered to be beneficial for the human glucose metabolism. While the often stated essentiality of Cr(III) lacks the identification of the active biological species, even the beneficial effects reported are not convincing for healthy people according to the European Food Safety Authority. The question of the Cr toxicity is even more complicated, since the species actually damaging the DNA is Cr(III), yet Cr(III) is not very mobile and can hardly reach the interior of cells.
The presence of Cr(VI) in foodstuffs also is a question often disputed. While the organic material in foodstuffs leads to a reducing environment in which Cr(VI) can hardly survive for extended periods of time, some researchers have reported the presence of Cr(VI) in some foodstuffs such as bread, milk, meat, cereals, tea, mushrooms and rice. Other researchers disputing such results have made inconsistent analytical procedures responsible for the detection of Cr(VI) in such materials. We here at EVISA have always argued, that only species-specific isotope dilution, avoiding transformation errors during analysis can be used to create convincing results. Now a group of researchers from France and Denmark have finally applied such technique for the chromium speciation analysis in some foodstuffs.
The new study:
This study aimed at the assessment of the impact of various culinary processes on the fate of chromium (Cr) species (Cr(III) and Cr(VI)) in infant formula milk, semi-skimmed milk and bovine meat samples. The cooking procedures were boiling at 70°C/100°C (milk samples) and frying without and with oil (95°C and 120°C) (bovine meat). The levels of Cr(III) and Cr(VI) in raw and cooked samples were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) using double spike species-specific-isotope dilution (SS-ID). This technique allows for the correction of species transformations during the analysis. ANOVA test used to compare the mean Cr species concentrations showed no significant differences between raw and cooked samples. The results obtained by the research group show that oxidation of Cr(III) to Cr(VI) does not occur during thermal cooking of milk and bovine meat samples. A further selection of 10 samples of each type were analysed in terms of total Cr as well as speciation (Cr(III) and Cr(VI)). Cr(VI) was not quantified in any of these samples, whereas Cr(III) levels ranged from 0.22 (infant formula milk) up to 80 μg kg−1 (chorizo sausage). Also the mass balance indicated that Cr is found exclusively as Cr(III) in these samples.
Thermo Scientific iCAP Q ICP-MS
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last time modified: February 9, 2021