Instrumental Analysis of Foods: Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry for Determination of Metals in Cereals and Fast Ion Chromatography Analysis for Minerals in Aqueous Sport Drinks

Aims: Foods  are  analyzed  for  their  content  for  important  reasons  that  include:  Adherence  to government  regulations,  nutritional  labeling,  authentication,  inspection  (for  grading),  safety,  quality control and detection of adulterants.

Study  Design: Inductively  coupled  plasma  mass  spectrometry  (ICP-MS)  analysis  of  various commercial  cereals  was  accomplished.  Commercial  drinks  were  analyzed  by  ion  chromatography instruments.

Place  and Duration  of  Study: The  investigation  was  carried  out  at  the  University  of  Nebraska, Omaha Nebraska from January 2014 to May 2014.

Methodology: Cereals were treated in strong acid to extract heavy metals. Following dilution steps, these  extracts  were  injected  into  ICP-MS  for  analysis. Quantity  of  metals  as  well  as  isotope distribution was established. Commercial sports drinks were examined for clarification and injected into  ion  chromatography  instruments  for  analysis  for  calcium,  sodium,  potassium,  magnesium, chloride, phosphate, sulphate and fluoride.

Results: (ICP-MS) analysis of  various  commercial  cereals showed  a  content  of  chromium,  nickel, copper, zinc and traces of lead. In general, zinc was found to be highest in content within the cereal products  analyzed  ranging  from  2.951 mg/kilogram  to  90.56 mg/kilogram  (mean  =  58.38 mg/kilogram),  followed  by  copper  ranging  from  1.218 mg/kilogram  to  4.395 mg/kilogram  (mean  = 2.756 mg/kilogram). This is followed in amounts (by average of all samples tested) by nickel, lead and chromium. Chromium, copper, nickel and zinc are considered human micronutrients. Sport drinks are consumed for their mineral content and enhancement of electrolytes. Various sports drinks analyzed showed both cation and anion minerals in their content, which included: sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium, sulfate, phosphate, chloride, fluoride and nitrate ions.

Conclusion: ICP-MS and ion chromatography are versatile approaches for analysis of food nutrient value and metals content. ICP-MS can track the absorption of heavy metals into commercial cereals. Ion  chromatography  can  identify  adulterants  in  sport  drinks. Current  ion  chromatography instrumentation can quickly and with versatility assay a broad concentration of cations and anions in electrolyte mixtures. The monitoring of electrolyte contentis an important aspect for the clinical use of such  mixtures  for  the  treatment  of  disease.  Sensitive  and  versatile  methodologies  for  monitoring nutrients inside food products will enhance their safety, government compliance, nutritional value and the demands from consumers.

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