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Influence of mercury bioaccessibility on exposure assessment associated with consumption of cooked predatory fish in Spain

Torres-Escribano, Silvia, Ruiz, Antonio, Barrios, Laura, Vélez, Dinoraz, Montoro, Rosa
Journal of the science of food and agriculture 2011 v.91 no.6 pp. 981-986
Xiphias gladius, bonito, cooked foods, cooking, digestion, exposure assessment, food safety, intestinal absorption, mercury, raw fish, risk estimate, safety assessment, sharks, tuna, Spain
BACKGROUND: Predatory fish tend to accumulate high levels of mercury (Hg). Food safety assessment of these fish has been carried out on the raw product. However, the evaluation of the risk from Hg concentrations in raw fish might be modified if cooking and bioaccessibility (the contaminant fraction that solubilises from its matrix during gastrointestinal digestion and becomes available for intestinal absorption) were taken into account. Data on Hg bioaccessibility in raw predatory fish sold in Spain are scarce and no research on Hg bioaccessibility in cooked fish is available. The aim of the present study was to evaluate Hg bioaccessibility in various kinds of cooked predatory fish sold in Spain to estimate their health risk. RESULTS: Both Hg and bioaccessible Hg concentrations were analysed in raw and cooked fish (swordfish, tope shark, bonito and tuna). There were no changes in Hg concentrations during cooking. However, Hg bioaccessibility decreased significantly after cooking (42 ± 26% in raw fish and 26 ± 16% in cooked fish), thus reducing in swordfish and tope shark the Hg concentration to which the human organism would be exposed. CONCLUSION: In future, cooking and bioaccessibility should be considered in risk assessment of Hg concentrations in predatory fish.