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Research articles

ScienceAsia 40 (2014): 53-59 |doi: 10.2306/scienceasia1513-1874.2014.40.053

Determination of arsenic in chilli and tomato grown in North East Thailand

Nittaya Thaharna, Suchila Techawongstienb, Saksit Chanthaia,*

ABSTRACT:     Heavy metals in edible fruits constitute a health hazard. We present an analytical procedure for determining inorganic arsenic (As) species in hot chilli pepper and tomato fruits at the red-ripe stage using microwave assisted digestion (MAD) followed by flow injection-hydride generation atomic absorption spectrometry (FI-HGAAS). The optimum conditions for the acid digestion method and arsenic hydride (AsH3) determination were studied in detail. The plant sample (0.5 g) was digested with 5 ml of concentrated nitric acid by MAD programmed at 900 W for 35 min. Arsenite, As(III), in the acid digests could only be analysed by FI-HGAAS using 1% (v/v) HCl as a carrier solution and 0.5% (w/v) NaBH4 in 0.04% (w/v) NaOH as a reducing agent, while total As content was determined after pre-reduction of arsenate, As(V), to As(III) with 2% (w/v) thiourea prior to measurement. The concentration of As(V) was then calculated as the difference between total As and As(III). Detection limits for As(III) and As(V) were 0.004 and 0.006 µg/l, respectively. The relative standard deviation of the data was less than 5% (n=10). The recovery of the samples spiked with 10 µg/l As was 98–103%. The proposed method was applied to determine traces of As in six varieties of hot chilli pepper (0.55–0.88 µg/g As(III) and 0.22–0.93 µg/g As(V)) and seven varieties of tomato (0.36–0.64 µg/g As(III) and 0.22–0.60 µg/g As(V)) samples.

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a Department of Chemistry and Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Chemistry, Faculty of Science, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002 Thailand
b Department of Plant Science and Agricultural Resources, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen 40002 Thailand

* Corresponding author, E-mail: sakcha2@kku.ac.th

Received 4 Apr 2013, Accepted 14 Dec 2013