EVISA Print | Glossary on | Contact EVISA | Sitemap | Home   
 Advanced search
The establishment of EVISA is funded by the EU through the Fifth Framework Programme (G7RT- CT- 2002- 05112).

Supporters of EVISA includes:

The effect of thermal treatment on the arsenic speciation in food


The concentration of Arsenic in seafood products is often enhanced during cooking because of weight loss of the tissue during the cooking process. A loss of arsenic during preparation of mussels has also been observed, because of leaching of organo arsenic compounds into the broth during the steaming process.

Not only the total concentration of arsenic in food may be altered during processing but also the arsenic speciation.  Especially higher temperatures, such as those obtained during baking, grilling and frying may lead to a decomposition of organo arsenic compounds.

Degradation has been observered for Arsenobetain (AB) to trimethylarsine oxide (TMAO) and tetramethyl- arsonium (TMA), for Dimethylarsinic acid (DMA) towards monomethylarsonic acid (MMA),  and of MMA towards inorganic arsenic in model systems at temperatures exceeding 150 °C. However, such temperatures will not be reached inside the products during normal food processing but occasionally may be reached at the surface of the product in direct contact with the heat source.  

In general cooking of vegetables and other foodstuffs of vegetable origin often leds to a reduction of arsenic content due to leaching into the boiling water in case of uncontaminated clean water.
The process of washing and soaking of edible algae such as Hizikia fusiforme may led to a reduction of the arsenic content by as 60 %.

However, the inverse may happen, if arsenic tainted water is used for cooking. The complexing capacity of rice for example leds to nearly quantitative adsorption of arsenic from the boiling water, especilly if the cooking is done in a way, such that no water is left over after the rice is ready.

Apart from thermal degradation, alteration of speciation can also be caused by microbial activity. Since microbial activity is stopped only at temperatures well below the freezing point, arsenic speciation could in general be changed during refrigeration. The only study done so far with seafood indicates that moist arsenic species remained unaltered for 29 days with the exception of arsenobetaine (AB) and arsenocholine (AC). AB was transformed by microbial activity, producing TMAO, DMA, MMA, and an unidentified compound that might be dimethylarsinoylacetate. AC, on the other hand, underwent rapid degradation, producing AB as the only metabolite.

The original study

V. Devesa, D. Vélez, R. Montoro, Effect of thermal treatments on arsenic species contents in food, Food Chem. Toxicol., 46/1 (2008) 1-8. DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2007.08.021

Related studies

R. Schelenz, B. Boppel,Changes in As, Pb, Cd and Hg contents of vegetables during domestic preparation, Landwirtsch. Forsch.,  (1983) 342-351.

J.T. van Elteren, Z. Slejkovec, Ion-exchange separation of eight arsenic compounds by high-performance liquid chromatography-UV decomposition -hydride generation-atomic fluorescence spectrometry and stability tests for food treatment procedures, J. Chromatogr. A, 789/1-2 (1997) 339-348. DOI: 10.1016/S0021-9673(97)00703-6 

V. Devesa, A. Martinez, M.A. Súńer, V. Benito, D. Vélez, R. Montoro, Kinetic study of transformations of arsenic species during heat treatment, J. Agri. Food Chem., 49 (2001) 2267-2271. DOI: 10.1021/jf001328e

Vicenta Devesa, Mari Luz Macho, Mercedes Jalón, Inés Urieta, Ociel Muńoz, María Angeles Súńer, Fernando López, Dinoraz Vélez, Rosa Montoro, Arsenic in Cooked Seafood Products: Study on the Effect of Cooking on Total and Inorganic Arsenic Contents, J. Agri. Food Chem., 49 (2001) 4132-4140. DOI: 10.1021/jf010274l

V. Devesa, A. Martínez, M.A. Súńer, D. Vélez, C. Almela, R. Montoro, Effect of Cooking Temperatures on Chemical Changes in Species of Organic Arsenic in Seafood, J. Agri. Food Chem., 49/5 (2001) 2272-2276. DOI: 10.1021/jf0013297

K. Hanaoka, W. Goessler, H. Ohno, K.-J. Irgolic, T. Kaise, Formation of toxic arsenical in roasted muscles of marine animals, Appl. Organomet. Chem., 15/1 (2001) 61-66. DOI: 10.1002/1099-0739(200101)15:1<61::AID-AOC70>3.0.CO;2-2

Chao Wei, Weihua Lo, Chao Zhang, Marijn Van Hulle, Rita Cornelis, Xinrong Zhang, Safety Evaluation of Organoarsenical Species in Edible Porphyra from the China Sea, J. Agri. Food Chem., 51 (2003) 5176-5182. DOI: 10.1021/jf026117j

Francesco Cubadda, A. Raggi, F. Zanasi, et al., From durum wheat to pasta: effect of technological processing on the levels of arsenic, cadmium, lead and nickel--a pilot study,  Food Addit. Contam., 20/4 (2003) 353-360. DOI: 10.1080/0265203031000121996

J.M. Laparra, D. Vélez, R. Montoro, R. Barberá, R. Farré, Bioaccessibility of inorganic arsenic species in raw and cooked Hizika fusiforme seaweed, Appl. Organomet. Chem., 18/12 (2004) 662-669. DOI: 10.1002/aoc.732

Amanda H. Ackerman, Patricia A. Creed, Amy N. Parks, Michael W. Fricke, Carol A. Schwegel, John T. Creed, Douglas T. Heitkemper, Nohora P. Vela, Comparison of a Chemical and Enzymatic Extraction of Arsenic from Rice and an Assessment of the Arsenic Absorption from Contaminated Water by Cooked Rice,  Environ. Sci. Technol., 39/14   (2005) 5241-5246. DOI: 10.1021/es048150n

Concepcíon Almela, José Moisés Laparra, Dinoraz Vélez, Reyes Barberá, Rosaura Farré, Rosa Montoro, Arsenosugars in Raw and Cooked Edible Seaweed: Characterization and Bioaccessibility, J. Agri. Food Chem., 53/18 (2005) 7344-7351. DOI: 10.1021/jf050503u

V. Devesa, M.A. Súńer, S. Algora, D. Vélez, R. Montoro, M. Jalón, I. Urieta, M.L. Macho, Organoarsenical Species Contents in Cooked Seafood, J. Agri. Food Chem., 53/22 (2005) 8813-8819. DOI: 10.1021/jf050499m

José Moisés Laparra, Dinoraz Vélez, Reyes Barberá, Rosaura Farré, and Rosa Montoro, Bioavailability of Inorganic Arsenic in Cooked Rice: Practical Aspects for Human Health Assessment, J. Agri. Food Chem., 53/22 (2005) 8829-8833. DOI: 10.1021/jf051365b

Shin'ichi Miyashita, Kenji Kinoshita, Yumiko Yamashita, Emiko Okazaki, Toshikazu Kaise, Decrease of Mineral Components in Hijiki by Soaking in Water and Warm Water, Trace Nutrients Res., 23 (2006) 42-46. pdf available from: http://www.jtnrs.com/sym23/23_042.pdf

M.K. Sengupta, M.A. Hossain, A. Mukherjee, S. Ahamed, B. Das, B. Nayak, A. Pal, D. Chakraborti, Arsenic burden of cooked rice: Traditional and modern methods, Food Chem. Toxicol., 44/11 (2006) 1823-1829. DOI: 10.1016/j.fct.2006.06.003

M. Azizur Rahman, H. Hasegawa, M. Arifur Rahman, M. Mahfuzur Rahman, M.A. Majid Miah, Influence of cooking method on arsenic retention in cooked rice related to dietary exposure, Sci. Total Environ., 370/1 (2006) 51-60. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2006.05.018

Beyza Ersoy, Yasemen Yanar, Aygül Küçükgülmez, Mehmet Çelik, Effects of four cooking methods on the heavy metal concentrations of sea bass fillets ( Dicentrarchus labrax Linne, 1785), Food Chem., 99/4 (2006) 748-751. DOI: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2005.08.055

Related EVISA News (newest first)

June 8, 2006: Methylmercury in fish: Can you cook it out ?
December 11, 2003: No degradation of TBT in seafood during cooking

last time updated: June 25, 2020


Imprint     Disclaimer

© 2003 - 2010 by European Virtual Institute for Speciation Analysis ( EVISA )