Shimadzu Europa
Determination of Chromium and Arsenic Species in Food and Food Packaging using LC-ICPMS

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  • Published: Mar 1, 2018
  • Source: Shimadzu Europa GmbH
  • Categories: Atomic
thumbnail image: <font size=3>Shimadzu Europa</font><br />Determination of Chromium and Arsenic Species in Food and Food Packaging using LC-ICPMS

Authors: Uwe Oppermann1, Ludivine Fromentoux1, Jan Knoop2, Jürgen Schram2, Marcin Frankowski3 and Sebastian Szopa4
1Shimadzu Europa GmbH, Duisburg, Germany; 2Faculty of Chemistry, Niederrhein University of Applied Science, Krefeld, Germany; 3Faculty of Chemistry, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland; 4Shim-Pol A.M. Borzymowski, Warszawa, Poland.


Food safety is one of the major concerns of the European population and the European Commission aims to assure a high level of food safety and animal & plant health within the EU through the farm-to-fork principle. This implements effective control systems for harmful substances such as pesticides, mycotoxins and heavy metals.

Nowadays in food control speciation analysis has become an important tool for the determination of elements like cadmium, chromium, mercury, tin and arsenic where measurement only of total amount of the element is not sufficient. The idea is to have clear identification and quantification of the different species for a better understanding of toxicological impacts on human health, animal health and the environment.

In the case of arsenic for example, the inorganic species arsenite and arsenate have a bigger toxicological relevance than the organic species. For chromium in food packaging the hexavalent species needs to be determined as it is recognized as a human carcinogen, and speciation analysis needs to be performed using a combination of HPLC and ICPMS. To provide a valuable and efficient solution for speciation analysis, Shimadzu have developed the ICPMS-2030 and LC20Ai specific combination (Figure 1).


Figure 1. LC20Ai-ICPMS-2030 LC-ICPMS system


ICPMS-2030’s Mini Torch setup drastically reduces flow rates of Argon. Even for higher matrix samples the total consumption is below 10 L/min. Moreover, shielded Mini-torch is associated with a newly designed collision cell in order to remove polyatomic interferences and improve measurement accuracy. For speciation analysis, ICPMS-2030 is combined with the LC20Ai system. Made with resin parts, this LC system drastically reduces contamination risks. Both system devices are controlled by one software: LabSolutions ICPMS TRM..

Chromium Speciation in Food Packaging

As early as 1998, the European Union adopted the Ordinance on the Avoidance and Recovery of Packaging Wastes (VerpackV) and amended it in the most recent version of 2014 [2]. The VerpackV regulates the concentration of harmful substances such as heavy metals that may be present in packaging materials. Accordingly, packaging or its components may only be put into circulation if the cumulative concentration of lead, cadmium, mercury and chromium VI does not exceed 100 mg per kg.

Using the previously described LC20Ai-ICPMS-2030 system, an efficient method has been developed for chromium speciation analysis in food packaging. All method parameters are summarized in Table 1.


Table 1. Method parameters for chromium speciation analysis using LC20Ai-ICPMS system.


Applying such parameters, excellent sensitivity within low ppt range can be obtained combined with a good calibration curve linearity (r > 0.9999, Figure 2).

Figure 2. Calibration curve of Cr(III) (left) and Cr(VI) (right)


Arsenic speciation in rice

In the case of food safety, checking of rice for contaminants is becoming more and more important. Over the past 10 years, global rice consumption has increased and, compared to other leading food crops, global rice production accounted for 78% for human consumption, whereas the rate is much lower for wheat (64%) or maize (14%) [3].

Especially since rice is becoming the main food source for some Asian countries or in low-income countries, banning of contaminants or keeping them at a minimal level should be a major goal. The European Commission has fixed the maximum levels of inorganic arsenic in non-parboiled milled rice at 0.2 μg/kg and rice for the production of food for infants and young children at 0.1 μg/kg [4].

In order to separate arsenic species, the LC20Ai-ICPMS-2030 system has already been used. In this case, ion pair chromatography is applied with parameters summarised in Table 2.


Table 2. Method parameters for Arsenic speciation in rice products using the LC20Ai-ICPMS system.


This method is not time consuming. As shown in Figure 3, different species such as As(V), As(III) and dimethylarsenic acid (DMAA) are well separated within 5 minutes.


Figure 3. Separation of Arsenic species


For checking of method correctness, certified reference material was analyzed and the recovery rate was at a very acceptable level (Table 3).


Table 3. Results of measurement of Arsenic species in certified reference rice.



LC-ICPMS is an ideal tool for chromium and arsenic speciation in food and food packaging. Easy method development, routine measurement plus result overview – all are combined in a single software platform allowing the highest levels of compliance for food and food safety.


Shimadzu Europa GmbH
Albert-Hahn-Str. 6–10, D-47269 Duisburg, Germany
Tel. +49 203 76 87 0
Fax. +49 203 76 66 25

For more information, please view the following application note:
Quantitation of Arsenic Species in White Rice and Brown Rice Using LC-ICP-MS System

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