This study aimed at analyzing the concentrations of 23 minor and trace elements in aromatic spices by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry (ICP-MS), after wet digestion by microwave system. The analytical method was validated by linearity, detection limits, precision, accuracy and recovery experiments, obtaining satisfactory values in all cases. Results indicated the presence of variable amounts of both minor and trace elements in the selected aromatic spices. Manganese was high in cinnamon (879.8 μg/g) followed by cardamom (758.1 μg/g) and clove (649.9 μg/g), strontium and zinc were high in ajwain (489.9 μg/g and 84.95 μg/g, respectively), while copper was high in mango powder (77.68 μg/g). On the whole some of the minor and essential trace elements were found to have good nutritional contribution in accordance to RDA. The levels of toxic trace elements, including As, Cd, and Pb were very low and did not found to pose any threat to consumers.
An ethanolic extract of cloves was analyzed by gas chromatography directly to identify eugenol and other major phenolic compounds without previous separation of other components. Separation was performed on a fused-silica capillary column of 30 m x 0.53 mm I.D., 0.53 microns film thickness. The detector was a flame ionization detector. Helium gas at a flow-rate of 3 ml/min was used as a carrier gas. The analysis were performed with linear temperature programming. Nine components were detected and special attention was given to the major phenolic compound, eugenol.
Among the many roles played by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the food industry is the production of heritage foods such as peanut sauce. Unfortunately, the safety of peanut sauce is not always assured as the processing line is not controlled. Peanut sauce is usually made of peanuts and chilli, and these commodities are normally contaminated with Aspergillus spp. and aflatoxins (AFs). Hence, the objective of this study was to evaluate the practices related to reduction of AF hazard and the effect of interventions in peanut sauce processing. Peanut samples were collected from each step of peanut sauce processing from a small peanut sauce company according to four designs: (1) control; (2) oil-less frying of chilli powder; (3) addition of retort processing; and (4) combination of oil-less frying of chilli powder and retort processing. Oil-less frying of chilli powder (Design 2) reduced total AFs by 33-41%, retort processing (Design 3) reduced total AFs by 49%, while combination of these two thermal processes (Design 4) significantly reduced total AFs, by 57%. The present work demonstrated that Design 4 yielded the highest reduction of total AFs and is therefore recommended to be employed by SME companies.
The analysis of aflatoxins (B1, B2, G1 and G2) and ochratoxin A (OTA) was performed in processed spices marketed in Penang, Malaysia, using immunoaffinity columns and HPLC equipped with fluorescence detector (HPLC-FD). The processed powdered spices analysed include dried chilli, fennel, cumin, turmeric, black and white pepper, poppy seed, coriander, 'garam masala', and mixed spices for fish, meat and chicken curry. Two different studies were carried out. The limit of detection (LOD) was 0.01 ng g(-1) for each aflatoxin (AF) and 0.10 ng g(-1) for OTA (signal-to-noise ratio = 3:1). In the first study, 34 commercial processed spices analysed with a mean level, range and incidence of positive samples for total AF were 1.61 ng g(-1), 0.01-9.34 ng g(-1) and 85%, respectively, and for AFB1 were 1.38 ng g(-1), 0.01-7.68 ng g(-1) and 85%, respectively. The mean level, range and incidence of positive samples for OTA were 2.21 ng g(-1), 0.14-20.40 ng g(-1) and 79%, respectively. Natural co-occurrence of AF and OTA was found in 25 (74%) samples. In the second study of 24 commercial processed spices, the mean level, range and incidence of positive samples for total AF were 8.38 ng g(-1), 0.32-31.17 ng g(-1) and 88%, respectively, and for AFB1 were 7.31 ng g(-1), 0.32-28.43 ng g(-1) and 83%, respectively. Fifteen positive samples for total AF and two positive samples for OTA exceeded the permissible Malaysian limit of 5 ng g(-1). Contamination of both mycotoxins in spices may represent another route of exposure to consumers due to their frequent and prolonged consumption, as spices are common ingredients in popular dishes among Asian countries.
Spices are rich sources of antioxidants due to the presence of phenols and flavonoids. In this study, the DNA protecting activity and inhibition of nicotine-induced cancer cell migration of 9 spices were analysed. Murine fibroblasts (3T3-L1) and human breast cancer (MCF-7) cells were pre-treated with spice extracts and then exposed to H₂O₂ and nicotine. The comet assay was used to analyse the DNA damage. Among the 9 spices, ginger, at 50 μg/ml protected against 68% of DNA damage in 3T3-L1 cells. Caraway, cumin and fennel showed statistically significant (p<0.05) DNA protecting activity. Treatment of MCF-7 cells with nicotine induced cell migration, whereas pre-treatment with spices reduced this migration. Pepper, long pepper and ginger exhibited a high rate of inhibition of cell migration. The results of this study prove that spices protect DNA and inhibit cancer cell migration.
As, Cd, Pb and Hg were analysed in commonly consumed spices and herbs in Malaysia. The range of As, Cd, Pb and Hg content was 0.24-2.54, 0.23-8.07, 1.54-8.94 and 0.06-0.52 µg g(-1), respectively. The highest concentration of Cd, Pb and Hg in spices and herbs exceeded the maximum permitted proportion, which are 1, 2 and 0.05 µg g(-1), respectively. This study suggests further monitoring of Cd, Pb and Hg on daily consumption of spices and herbs and its toxicological implication for consumers since only the amount of As was lower than the permitted concentration.