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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