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Change of Arsenic Speciation in Shellfish after Cooking and Gastrointestinal Digestion

Liao, Wen, Wang, Guang, Li, Kaiming, Zhao, Wenbo
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2018 v.66 no.29 pp. 7805-7814
arsenic, bioavailability, boiling, cooking, digestion, gastrointestinal system, mice, risk, risk assessment, seafood consumption, shellfish, spices, steaming, toxicity, washing
Shellfish is a common part of indigenous cuisines throughout the world and one of the major sources of human exposure to arsenic (As). We evaluated As speciation in shellfish after cooking and gastrointestinal digestion in this study. Results showed that washing and cooking (boiling and steaming) can reduce As exposures from shellfish. The use of spices during cooking processes also helped to reduce the bioaccessibility of total As. Through mass balance calculations, we verified the transformation of methylated As compounds into inorganic As in shellfish takes place during cooking and that As demethylation can occur during simulated gastrointestinal digestion. In vivo demethylation of As after gastrointestinal digestion was also demonstrated in laboratory mice. This increase in inorganic As during digestion suggests that risks of As toxicity from shellfish consumption are being underestimated. Further studies on the mechanisms of As speciation transformation in food are necessary for more thorough risk assessments.