Research Highlight

Food arsenic detector

doi:10.1038/nindia.2010.19 Published online 23 February 2010

A new technique to determine arsenic in food samples promises to be a handy tool to minimise the risk of arsenic contamination. A special method called dry ashing in the presence of palladium has been used to detect arsenic levels in food samples.

Living organisms are exposed to the toxic inorganic arsenic forms primarily from food and water. Such exposure could be carcinogenic, might cause dermal changes and affect the respiratory, cardiovascular and gastrointestinal systems.

The special technique called dry ashing using palladium and inductively coupled plasma-mass-spectrometry (ICS-MS) was used on wheat flour, lichen and tobacco leaf samples. Palladium prevented the loss of arsenic and worked as a catalyst to decrease the time of dry ashing.

The simple and fast procedure can detect extremely minute amounts of arsenic.


  1. Sahayam, C. A. et al. Dry ashing of organic rich matrices with palladium for the determination of arsenic using inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry. Anal. Chim. Acta. 661, 17-19 (2010)  | Article | PubMed |