Cassava is a root vegetable and a major source of calories and carbohydrates in many countries around the globe. As one of the most important staple crops, its levels of harmful chemicals and pathogens are strictly controlled – these include organic chemicals and heavy metals. Metals, such as cadmium, mercury and lead, as well as metalloids, such as arsenic, are harmful to human health, and these metals and metalloids can be taken up by the cassava plant from air, water, and soil during growth, or introduced as contaminants during processing and storage. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has published an elemental analytical method by ICP-MS: Elemental Analysis Manual (EAM) 4.7, which includes the analysis of the aforementioned elements.
Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) is a powerful technique with multi-element detection ability, low detection limits, high speed of analysis, wide linear dynamic range, etc. However, it is affected by plasma and matrix-based polyatomic interferences and doubly charged species.
This work describes a procedure for the accurate quantification of heavy metals in cassava flours following U.S. FDA’s EAM 4.7 using PerkinElmer’s NexION® ICP-MS, leveraging the instrument’s proven proprietary technologies to tackle polyatomic interferences.