Metals in edible seaweed

Chemosphere. 2017 Apr:173:572-579. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2017.01.064. Epub 2017 Jan 12.


The concentration levels of 20 metals were analyzed by ICP-OES in edible seaweed (Chondrus, Eisenia, Gelidium, Himanthalia, Laminaria, Palmaria, Porphyra, Undaria), from two origins (Asia vs EU) according to their cultivation practices (conventional vs organic). Red seaweed showed higher concentrations of trace and toxic elements. Porphyra may be used as a potential bioindicator for metals. Significant differences were found between the Asian vs European mean contents. The mean Cd level from the conventional cultivation (0.28 mg/kg) was two points higher than the organic cultivation (0.13 mg/kg). A daily consumption of seaweed (4 g/day) contributes to the dietary intake of metals, mainly Mg and Cr. The average intakes of Al, Cd and Pb were 0.064, 0.001 and 0.0003 mg/day, respectively. Based on obtained results, this study suggests that exposure to the toxic metals analyzed (Al, Cd and Pb) through seaweed consumption does not raise serious health concerns, but other toxic metals should be monitored.

Keywords: Dietary intake; Food analysis; Inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES); Metals; Seaweed.

MeSH terms

  • Asia
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Heavy Metal Poisoning*
  • Metals / analysis*
  • Metals, Heavy / analysis
  • Poisoning
  • Seaweed / chemistry*
  • Trace Elements / analysis*


  • Metals
  • Metals, Heavy
  • Trace Elements