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New reference materials for the characterisation of selenium-enriched food products


Selenium (Se) is an essential trace element that occurs as a variety of chemical species. The amino acid selenomethionine (SeMet) is one such species and is a common, naturally occurring food source of selenium. Decline in the importation of Se-rich wheat flour from North America, for instance, is considered to have contributed to the substantial fall of selenium in the European diet. The production of Se-enriched wheat flour therefore offers an effective bio-fortified food for increased selenium intake.

However, such fortification needs to be managed carefully to ensure that the level and type of selenium present still remains safe to humans. It is therefore essential that Se-enriched food products can be characterised reliably. Reference materials are vital to support accurate measurement of selenium in such products.

The new materials:
Production of these reference materials calls for the use of validated reference methods, based on high accuracy quantification using isotope dilution mass spectrometry (IDMS). However, despite advances in quantitative speciation methodology, there is a lack of commercially available isotopically enriched SeMet species with which to perform this quantification. LGC has therefore developed an isotopically enriched selenomethionine reference material (76Se-enriched SeMet), providing an assessed value for the abundance of 76Se.

Commenting on the development of this new reference material, LGC’s Dr Heidi Goenaga-Infante, Principal Scientist in Mass Spectrometry, said: “LGC’s 76Se-enriched SeMet reference material is vital to ensure commercial selenium enrichment programmes are undertaken responsibly, without compromising public safety.”
The new reference material is a suitable spike material for IDMS and is available from LGC Standards, a supplier of over 100,000 products including reference materials, pharmaceutical impurity reference standards, biological standards and reagents. Certified reference materials for Se in wheat flour and yeast dietary supplement tablets are also in development at LGC.

Source: LGC

Related EVISA Resources

Brief summary: Certified Reference Materials for Speciation Analysis
Brief summary: Speciation Analysis - Striving for Quality
Brief summary: Speciation and Toxicity
Brief summary: GC-ICP-MS: A very sensitive hyphenated system for speciation analysis
Brief summary: LC-ICP-MS - The most often used hyphenated system for speciation analysis
Link page: All about CRMs
Link page: All about Food

Materials Database: LGC7330 - Selenomethionine enriched with 76Se
Materials Database: Materials related to food
Company Database: LGC and its products

Related EVISA News

March 20, 2011: Stability of Reference Materials for Speciation Analysis
March 16, 2008: New selenium-containing proteins identified in selenium-rich yeast
October 6, 2005: Selenomethionine shows promising results as a protective agent against Esophageal Cancer
August 2, 2005: New CRM for Selenomethionine in yeast developed by NRC Canada is now on the market


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