In this study the concentration of total arsenic (As) and arsenic species (inorganic As, arsenobetaine, dimethylarsinate, and methylarsonate) was monitored in different foodstuffs (rice, vegetables, algae, fish, crustacean, molluscs) before and after preparation using common kitchen practices. By measuring the water content of the foodstuff and by reporting arsenic concentrations on a dry weight base, we were able to distinguish between As release effects due to food preparation and As decrease due to changes in moisture content upon food preparation. Arsenic species were released to the broth during boiling, steaming, frying, or soaking of the food. Concentrations declined with maxima of 57% for total arsenic, 65% for inorganic As, and 32% for arsenobetaine. On the basis of a combination of our own results and literature data, we conclude that the extent of this release of arsenic species is species specific, with inorganic arsenic species being released most easily, followed by the small organic As species and the large organic As species.
Keywords: arsenic; food; inorganic arsenic; preparation; speciation.