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Enhancing Chromium Speciation Analysis in Foods: A Rapid Approach


Hexavalent chromium, classified as a class I carcinogen by the World Health Organization, poses significant environmental and health concerns, particularly through dietary intake. While past studies have reported varying levels of Cr(VI) in foods, the lack of selectivity in traditional analysis methods has spurred the need for a more precise approach. This new study addresses this gap by employing a highly selective and rapid method, combining high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS).

The Method:
The method involves extracting Cr(VI) from food samples using an alkaline medium, followed by HPLC separation and ICP-MS detection. Notably, the technique boasts excellent linearity, precision, and a low detection limit, enabling swift and accurate analysis. By evaluating Cr(VI) levels across a range of food products, including milk powder, rice flour, and orange juice, the researchers found no detectable traces of Cr(VI), further underscoring the need for meticulous interpretation of Cr levels in food studies.

Exploring Reactivity:
Delving deeper, the study investigates the impact of specific food components and processing methods on Cr(VI) reduction. Results reveal varying reduction rates influenced by factors such as vitamin C, tea polyphenols, acidity and temperature. Intriguingly, certain components exhibit rapid reduction of Cr(VI), while others demonstrate slower kinetics, emphasizing the complexity of chromium interactions in food matrices.

In light of these findings, the authors caution against presuming the presence of Cr(VI) in foods, highlighting the nuanced reactivity of food components. This underscores the importance of employing advanced analytical techniques for accurate chromium speciation analysis, paving the way for more informed food safety assessments.

The original publication

Ge Song, Honglian Tan, Chuhan Cheng, Peng Li, Xinyang Sun, Yuling Zhou, Yong Fang, Development of a Fast Method Using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry Coupled with High-Performance Liquid Chromatography and Exploration of the Reduction Mechanism of Cr(VI) in Foods, Toxics, 12 (2024) 325. DOI: 10.3390/toxics12050325

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 Related EVISA Resources

Link Database: Chromium as an essential nutrient
Link Database: ATSDR: Toxicological Profile for Chromium
Link Database: More about Cr(III)/Cr(VI)
 Link Database: Toxicity of hexavalent chromium (chromate)
 Link Database: Methods for chromium speciation analysis
Link Database: All about hexavalent chromium
Link Database: Legislation related to chromium
Brief summary: ICP-MS: A versatile detection system for trace element and speciation analysis
Brief summary: LC-ICP-MS - The most often used hyphenated system for speciation analysis
Brief summary: Standard methods for chromium speciation analysis
Material Database: Certified reference materials for Cr(VI)

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