Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients

A special issue of Foods (ISSN 2304-8158). This special issue belongs to the section "Food Quality and Safety".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (19 November 2021) | Viewed by 28335

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
LAQV/REQUIMTE, Department of Chemical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, 4050-313 Porto, Portugal
Interests: trace element imbalances in hemodialysis patients; elemental mapping of the human brain; food and environmental exposure to toxic trace elements; natural exposure to lithium and suicide rate in the general population
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
1. Department of Environmental Health, School of Health (ESS), P.Porto, Porto, Portugal
2. LAQV/REQUIMTE, Department of Chemical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Porto, Porto, Portugal
Interests: heavy metals; trace elements; minerals; ICP-MS; liquid chromatography; mass spectrometry; LC-MS/MS; vitamins; bioaccessibility; bioavailability; phenolic compounds; antioxidants
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
LAQV/REQUIMTE and IINFACTS
Interests: trace metal environmental monitorization; water; soil; flora
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

I was recently invited to serve as the Guest Editor of a Special Issue of Foods journal on Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients—an invitation I readily accepted, as I strongly believe that this is a pivotal knowledge and research area, and whose importance grows day by day.

As such, I would like to invite you to collaborate by submitting papers on original research work or methodologically sound reviews. The following topics are especially welcome:

A—trace elements as contaminants: i) regulation in different regions (USA, Europe, Japan, etc.), with critical comparative analysis; ii) modern techniques/methods for ultratrace, isotopic and speciation analysis; iii) emerging issues, including trace elements of current increased interest and metallic nanoparticles.

B—trace elements as nutrients: i) which elements are truly essential (micronutrients)? ii) “beneficial” elements (which ones, why?); ii) the current “recommended dietary intakes” (are they well adjusted? Is it important to review them? New data); iii) prevalence of deficiencies worldwide (which ones? where? strategies to mitigate them, fortification and biofortification); iii) bioaccessibility/bioavailability of different TE in different foods; iv) the regulatory framework for the manufacture, placing on the market and control of food supplements (Europe, USA, etc.); trace element changes in different disease states: cause or consequence.

Prof. Dr. Agostinho Almeida
Prof. Dr. Edgar Pinto
Prof. Dr. Cristina Couto
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Trace elements as contaminants and nutrients
  • Regulatory issues
  • Modern techniques and methods
  • Emerging contaminants
  • Essential and “beneficial” trace elements
  • Dietary requirements
  • Deficiencies and strategies to mitigate them
  • Bioaccessibility and bioavailability
  • Trace element changes in different diseases

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Editorial

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2 pages, 179 KiB  
Editorial
Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients
by Cristina Couto, Edgar Pinto and Agostinho Almeida
Foods 2022, 11(9), 1337; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11091337 - 4 May 2022
Viewed by 1425
Abstract
Knowledge about trace elements has evolved remarkably in recent decades, both in terms of their metabolism and their functions [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients)

Research

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12 pages, 272 KiB  
Article
Trace Elements in Medicinal Plants Traditionally Used in the Treatment of Diabetes—Do They Have a Role in the Claimed Therapeutic Effect?
by Pawel Konieczynski, Monika Gappa, Marek Wesolowski, Edgar Pinto and Agostinho Almeida
Foods 2022, 11(5), 667; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11050667 - 24 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2407
Abstract
Background: Medicinal plants are often used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, although knowledge about their mode of action and the substances responsible for their antidiabetic potential is limited. It is well known that some trace elements play a role in glucose metabolism [...] Read more.
Background: Medicinal plants are often used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus, although knowledge about their mode of action and the substances responsible for their antidiabetic potential is limited. It is well known that some trace elements play a role in glucose metabolism and insulin action. Thus, a particular trace elements profile could be associated with the antidiabetic properties observed for some medicinal plants. Methods: Infusions (n = 102) prepared from commercial herbal products (n = 34) containing medicinal plants indicated for the treatment of diabetes (n = 16 different plant species) and infusions (n = 60) prepared from commercial herbal products (n = 20) containing medicinal plants without such an indication (n = 7 different plant species) were analyzed by ICP-MS for their trace elements content. Results: In both groups, results varied significantly between different medicinal plants and also between different origins (brands) of the same medicinal plant. Significant differences (p < 0.05) between the two groups were found for nine elements, including four trace elements related to glucose metabolism (Mn, B, V, and Se), but with lower median contents in the group of medicinal plants for diabetes. Conclusions: Except for some particular species (e.g., Myrtilli folium) in which the trace element Mn may play a role in its antidiabetic effect, globally, a direct association between the claimed antidiabetic properties and a specific trace element profile of the studied medicinal plants was not evident. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients)
17 pages, 866 KiB  
Article
Nutritional Characterization of Strychnos madagascariensis Fruit Flour Produced by Mozambican Communities and Evaluation of Its Contribution to Nutrient Adequacy
by Sandra S. I. Chemane, Mafalda Ribeiro, Edgar Pinto, Susana C. M. Pinho, Zita Sá Martins, Agostinho Almeida, Isabel M. P. L. V. O. Ferreira, Maida Khan, Olívia Pinho, Susana Casal and Olga Viegas
Foods 2022, 11(4), 616; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11040616 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3020
Abstract
The indigenous fruit Strychnos madagascariensis is usually processed to flour, called nfuma, being highly consumed during staple food shortage. This study aimed to evaluate the nutritional composition of nfuma and its nutrient adequacy. Flours from four districts of Mozambique were analyzed using [...] Read more.
The indigenous fruit Strychnos madagascariensis is usually processed to flour, called nfuma, being highly consumed during staple food shortage. This study aimed to evaluate the nutritional composition of nfuma and its nutrient adequacy. Flours from four districts of Mozambique were analyzed using AOAC methods for proximate composition, HPLC for sugar, amino acids (AA), vitamin E and carotenoids and ICP-MS and FAAS for minerals. The results showed that nfuma stands out for its high content of fat (26.3–27.8%), mainly oleic acid, fiber (>6%), vitamin E (6.7 to 8.0 mg/100 g) and carotenes (2.2 to 2.6 mg/100 g). The main amino acids of nfuma protein were Arg, Asp and Glu, and Lys was the limiting one. The mineral composition reveals K (~1200 to 1700 mg/100 g) as the main macromineral followed by Mg > Ca > Na. The main trace element was Mn (~4 mg/100 g) followed by Fe > Zn > Cu > Cr > Co. Aluminum (~3 mg/100 g) was the main non-essential element and Rb, Ni, Sr, Ba, V, Cd were also quantified. Assuming the daily consumption of 50 g, nfuma provides 82% of Vitamin A dietary reference value for toddlers, while the consumption of 100 g contributes to 132% and 60% of Mn and vitamin A DRV for adults, respectively. Despite the nutritional advantages of nfuma, this flour can be a source of Ni, highlighting the importance of the study of good practices in its preparation to decrease the exposure to non-essential elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients)
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14 pages, 260 KiB  
Article
Identifying the Food Sources of Selected Minerals for the Adult European Population among Rice and Rice Products
by Joanna Bielecka, Renata Markiewicz-Żukowska, Patryk Nowakowski, Anna Puścion-Jakubik, Monika Grabia, Anita Mielech, Jolanta Soroczyńska and Katarzyna Socha
Foods 2021, 10(6), 1251; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10061251 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2832
Abstract
The problem of dietary deficiency of several essential elements among different stages of life is still observed. The consumption of whole grains (among others unprocessed rice) is recommended as a part of a healthy diet. This research aimed to determine the content of [...] Read more.
The problem of dietary deficiency of several essential elements among different stages of life is still observed. The consumption of whole grains (among others unprocessed rice) is recommended as a part of a healthy diet. This research aimed to determine the content of selected macro- and microelements in rice and rice products to verify whether the tested products could be regarded as a source of selected minerals in the diet of the adult European population. Methods: A total of 99 samples from 12 groups of rice products (basmati, black, brown, parboiled, red, wild, white rice and expanded rice, rice flakes, flour, pasta, and waffles) were obtained. The atomic absorption spectrometry method (AAS) was used to determine the content of Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Se and Zn in the study material. Results: The average measured contents of Ca, Cu, Fe, Mg, Mn, Se and Zn were as follows: 226.3 ± 160.6 mg/kg, 3.6 ± 2.8 mg/kg, 9.4 ± 7.0 mg/kg, 618.0 ± 498.4 mg/kg, 16.7 ± 10.0 mg/kg, 242.9 ± 140.4 µg/kg and 19.5 ± 15.0 mg/kg, respectively. Statistical analyses confirmed the differences in the levels of the studied elements between the subgroups of processed and unprocessed products. Considering the tolerable upper intake level of studied elements, the tested products could be regarded as safe to consume. Conclusion: All tested products can be recommended as a source of Cu, Mn, and Se, while a majority of studied products can be considered a source of Mg and Zn in the diet of the adult European population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients)
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13 pages, 1001 KiB  
Article
Evaluation and Dietary Exposure Assessment of Selected Toxic Trace Elements in Durum Wheat (Triticum durum) Imported into the Italian Market: Six Years of Official Controls
by Ciro Pompa, Teresa D’Amore, Oto Miedico, Chiara Preite and Antonio Eugenio Chiaravalle
Foods 2021, 10(4), 775; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods10040775 - 4 Apr 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2569
Abstract
Durum wheat grains, which are mostly used for the production of pasta and several baked goods, represent a main source of vegetable proteins and calories. Concurrently, many contaminants, including toxic trace elements, may accumulate in them, posing a potential severe hazard to human [...] Read more.
Durum wheat grains, which are mostly used for the production of pasta and several baked goods, represent a main source of vegetable proteins and calories. Concurrently, many contaminants, including toxic trace elements, may accumulate in them, posing a potential severe hazard to human health. In this context, for official control and food safety purposes, 346 samples of whole durum wheat imported into the Italian market from six countries (Australia, Canada, Kazakhstan, Russia, Turkey, and the United States) during the period 2015–2020 were analysed for cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), and mercury (Hg) content using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS). All the analysed samples were compliant with Food Agriculture Organization–World Health Organization and European Union regulations. The mean values were 0.0322 and 0.0162 mg kg−1, respectively, for Cd and Pb, while all samples showed levels below the limit of detection (0.004 mg kg−1) for Hg. The results were construed in terms of seasonality, year, and country of production, and compared with reference tolerance values. Confirming previous exposure studies, the obtained data and the dietary intake assessment showed that durum wheat-based products may have a significant impact on exposure to Pb and Cd (20–50%) in the overall population, particularly in more sensitive and/or exposed subgroups (infants, toddlers, and females). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients)
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16 pages, 1443 KiB  
Article
Macroelements and Trace Elements Content in Brine-Canned Mackerel (Scomber colias) Subjected to High-Pressure Processing and Frozen Storage
by Ricardo Prego, Manuel Vázquez, Antonio Cobelo-García and Santiago P. Aubourg
Foods 2020, 9(12), 1868; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9121868 - 15 Dec 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2228
Abstract
This study analysed the effect of prior high-pressure processing (HPP; 200–600 MPa, 2 min), freezing (−30 °C, 48 h), and frozen storage (−18 °C, 6 months) on the macroelement and trace element content in brine-canned mackerel (Scomber colias). Most elements ( [...] Read more.
This study analysed the effect of prior high-pressure processing (HPP; 200–600 MPa, 2 min), freezing (−30 °C, 48 h), and frozen storage (−18 °C, 6 months) on the macroelement and trace element content in brine-canned mackerel (Scomber colias). Most elements (Na, Ca, Ba, Mn, Fe, Cu, Cd, Sn, As, S, and Se) showed an increased (p < 0.05) presence in mackerel muscle canned after freezing. A content increase (p < 0.05) was also observed for Na and Sn if prior frozen storage was also applied; on the contrary, Ca, Ba, Mn, Fe, Cd, S, and Se showed a content decrease (p < 0.05) as a result of such storage. Freezing, frozen storage, and canning led to lower values (p < 0.05) in canned fish for K, Mg, Pb, and P. Prior HPP led to relevant content decreases (p < 0.05) for K, Mg, Ca, Ba, Mn, Fe, Pb, and P contents in fish canned after the freezing step; HPP provoked additional decreases (p < 0.05) in Ca, Ba, and Mn levels in samples corresponding to 6-month frozen storage. On the contrary, prior HPP led to marked increases (p < 0.05) for Cd, S, and Se contents in all canned samples. Content changes are explained on the basis of modifications of other constituents and liquor losses from muscle. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients)
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18 pages, 1616 KiB  
Article
Zn, Cu, and Fe Concentrations in Dehydrated Herbs (Thyme, Rosemary, Cloves, Oregano, and Basil) and the Correlation with the Microbial Counts of Listeria monocytogenes and Other Foodborne Pathogens
by José María García-Galdeano, Marina Villalón-Mir, José Medina-Martínez, Lydia María Vázquez-Foronda, Jessandra Gabriela Zamora-Bustillos, Ahmad Agil, Sofía María Fonseca Moor-Davie and Miguel Navarro-Alarcón
Foods 2020, 9(11), 1658; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9111658 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2618
Abstract
Zn, Cu, and Fe concentrations were measured in dehydrated herbs (thyme, rosemary, cloves, oregano, and basil) marketed in bulk or packaged in glass or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Microbial counts of Listeria monocytogenes and other five foodborne pathogens were also checked when herbs were [...] Read more.
Zn, Cu, and Fe concentrations were measured in dehydrated herbs (thyme, rosemary, cloves, oregano, and basil) marketed in bulk or packaged in glass or polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Microbial counts of Listeria monocytogenes and other five foodborne pathogens were also checked when herbs were previously added to the growing media. The highest mean concentrations were found in basil for Zn and Cu, and in thyme and basil for Fe; the lowest ones for these minerals were in cloves (p < 0.05). Basil had significantly higher microbial counts in five of the six foodborne pathogens studied (p < 0.05). Cloves have the best hygienic quality as there is no microbial growth of L. monocytogenes, Clostridium perfringens, and Bacillus cereus; they therefore could be used as a natural preservative in food. Aromatic herbs marketed in bulk showed a significantly higher microbial count (p < 0.05). Zn, Cu, and Fe concentrations were positively correlated with microbial growth for L. monocytogenes, C. perfringens, B. cereus, and psychrophilic microorganisms (p < 0.05), so they could act as a growing factor for the foodborne pathogens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients)
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11 pages, 710 KiB  
Article
Iodine and Mercury Content in Raw, Boiled, Pan-Fried, and Oven-Baked Atlantic Cod (Gadus morhua)
by Lisbeth Dahl, Arne Duinker, Synnøve Næss, Maria Wik Markhus, Ive Nerhus, Lisa Kolden Midtbø and Marian Kjellevold
Foods 2020, 9(11), 1652; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9111652 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4150
Abstract
There is a lack of scientific evidence regarding the stability of iodine and mercury during cooking and processing of seafood. In this study, the iodine and mercury content were determined after thawing frozen fillets of Atlantic cod (Cadus morhua), and further [...] Read more.
There is a lack of scientific evidence regarding the stability of iodine and mercury during cooking and processing of seafood. In this study, the iodine and mercury content were determined after thawing frozen fillets of Atlantic cod (Cadus morhua), and further in raw compared to boiled, pan-fried, and oven baked fillets. Iodine was determined by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS) and mercury by atomic absorption spectrophotometry with Direct Mercury Analyzer (DMA-80). Thawing of the cod resulted on average in a 12% loss of iodine to the thawing water. Boiling significantly decreased the total content of iodine per slice of cod fillet corresponding to the concentration of iodine found in the boiling water. Pan-frying and oven-baking did not cause any significant changes of the total iodine content per slice of cod fillet, although iodine content per 100 g increased due to weight reduction of the cod slices from evaporation of water during preparation. For mercury, we found minimal changes of the different cooking methods. In summary, the findings in our study show that boiling had the greatest effect on the iodine content in the cod fillets. Type of cooking method should be specified in food composition databases as this in turn may influence estimation of iodine intake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients)
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Review

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22 pages, 947 KiB  
Review
Metallic Nanoparticles in the Food Sector: A Mini-Review
by Cristina Couto and Agostinho Almeida
Foods 2022, 11(3), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/foods11030402 - 30 Jan 2022
Cited by 23 | Viewed by 4663
Abstract
Nanomaterials, and in particular metallic nanoparticles (MNPs), have significantly contributed to the production of healthier, safer, and higher-quality foods and food packaging with special properties, such as greater mechanical strength, improved gas barrier capacity, increased water repellency and ability to inhibit microbial contamination, [...] Read more.
Nanomaterials, and in particular metallic nanoparticles (MNPs), have significantly contributed to the production of healthier, safer, and higher-quality foods and food packaging with special properties, such as greater mechanical strength, improved gas barrier capacity, increased water repellency and ability to inhibit microbial contamination, ensuring higher quality and longer product shelf life. MNPs can also be incorporated into chemical and biological sensors, enabling the design of fast and sensitive monitoring devices to assess food quality, from freshness to detection of allergens, food-borne pathogens or toxins. This review summarizes recent developments in the use of MNPs in the field of food science and technology. Additionally, a brief overview of MNP synthesis and characterization techniques is provided, as well as of the toxicity, biosafety and regulatory issues of MNPs in the agricultural, feed and food sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trace Elements as Contaminants and Nutrients)
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