Analytical methods - Hg

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The standardization of methods for the detection and determination of additives, residues and contaminants in food is the objective of CEN/TC 275. Beside, CEN/TC 327 works on the elaboration of standardized test methods for the analysis for animal feeding stuffs. Animal feeding stuffs are defined as any substance or product, including additives, whether processed, partially processed or unprocessed, intended to be used for oral feeding to animals. The following standards related to the determination of mercury  have been published so far by CEN/TC 275 and CEN TC/327 :

-          EN 13805:2002 Foodstuffs - Determination of trace elements - Pressure digestion

-          EN 13806:2002 Foodstuffs - Determination of trace elements - Determination of mercury by cold-vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (CVAAS) after pressure digestion

-          EN 16277:2012 Animal feeding stuffs - Determination of mercury by cold-vapour atomic absorption spectrometry (CVAAS) after microwave pressure digestion (extraction with 65 % nitric acid and 30 % hydrogen peroxide)  


For the determination of methylmercury, the following stardards are being elaborated :

-          CEN/TC 275 WI 00275237 Foodstuffs - Determination of elements and their chemical species - Determination of methylmercury by isotope dilution GC-ICPMS in foodstuffs of marine origin (expected to be published 2015-2016)


Standard methods for mercury speciation analysis have been developed, validated and approved by US Food and Drug administartion :

-          Elemental Analysis Manual: Section 4.8 High Performance Liquid Chromatographic-Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometric Determination of Methylmercury and Total Mercury in Seafood [9-[file:///Y:/Unit_MANT/Algemeen/Research%20Programme/EU/FP7/2_Running%20Projects/FP7-KBBE-2011-2.4.02-TDS_EXPOSURE/03_Project/WP5/Task%205.4.2%20-X-%20Choice%20of%20adequate%20analytical%20methods/9.%09http:/ Link]].)

-          FDA: Analysis of Foods for As, Cd, Cr, Hg and Pb by Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectrometry (ICP-MS)[10-[file:///Y:/Unit_MANT/Algemeen/Research%20Programme/EU/FP7/2_Running%20Projects/FP7-KBBE-2011-2.4.02-TDS_EXPOSURE/03_Project/WP5/Task%205.4.2%20-X-%20Choice%20of%20adequate%20analytical%20methods/10.%09http:/ Link]]


Supplementary information can be found at the European Union Reference Laboratory for Heavy Metals in Feed and Food (EURL-HM)[11-[file:///Y:/Unit_MANT/Algemeen/Research%20Programme/EU/FP7/2_Running%20Projects/FP7-KBBE-2011-2.4.02-TDS_EXPOSURE/03_Project/WP5/Task%205.4.2%20-X-%20Choice%20of%20adequate%20analytical%20methods/11.%09http:/ Link]]. The task of the EU-RL for Heavy Metals in Feed and Food is to facilitate the implementation of Regulation (EC) No 1881/2006 and Directive 2001/22/EC establishing the maximum levels of heavy metals such as lead, mercury and cadmium in different foods. One of the core tasks of the EU-RLs is to organise interlaboratory comparisons where the appointed national reference laboratories can participate. The three types of matrices covered by the EU-RLs are: wild caught fish, food of plant origin and animal feed.


Especially for methylmercury, the European Commission requested the EURL-HM to validate a method which could be used by laboratories that do not run many methylmercury analyses per year and which do not have sophisticated techniques at their disposal. This simple method is based on a double liquid-liquid extraction, first with an organic solvent and then with a cystein solution.  JRC's European Union Reference Laboratory for Heavy Metals in Feed and Food validated this simple analytical method for the determination of methylmercury in seafood (2013) [8-Link].



Alternative methods from literature


Methods for mercury and methyl mercury determination can be found in the EVISA database [12].