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Occurrence and bioaccessibility of mercury in commercial rice samples in Montreal (Canada)

Lin, Hefei, Santa-Rios, Andrea, Barst, Benjamin D., Basu, Niladri, Bayen, Stéphane
Food and chemical toxicology 2019 v.126 pp. 72-78
bioavailability, cooking, dietary exposure, digestion, guidelines, in vitro digestion, markets, mercury, rice, thiols, Quebec
The objective of this study was to increase the understanding of mercury exposure via rice commonly consumed in a major North American city. Rice samples were collected from Montreal markets (n = 89) between 2016 and 2017 and analyzed for total mercury (THg) content. THg content ranged from 0.7 ± 0.1 to 9.3 ± 0.5 ng g−1 dw. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were recorded among the various rice types and countries of origin. Overall, cooking had little effect on the THg concentrations in rice. Thiols play a major role in the fate of Hg, therefore thiol contents in rice were measured, and a weak but significant relationship between thiol and THg contents in rice (p < 0.05) was observed. An in vitro gastro-intestinal digestion method was used to assess the bioaccessibility rate of THg in cooked rice samples, and less than 44.5% of THg from the initial rice samples was bioaccessible after in vitro digestion. Dietary exposure to Hg through rice consumption was calculated for the typical Canadian population and values were all below current provisional tolerable weekly intake guidelines. This study improves our understanding of Hg exposures via rice in a large North American city.