ASSESSMENT OF HEAVY METAL CONTENTS IN SOME COMMON SPICES AVAILABLE IN THE LOCAL MARKETS OF TIKRITNOOR J. FADHIL, DHUHA SALAH NOORI, MARWAN Q. AL-SAMARRAIE AND M. J. MOHAMMED
The existence of the heavy metals in spices, which is primarily used for coloring and flavoring food, has serious threats on human health owing to their high toxicity at high concentrations. This work deals with estimating the contents of copper (Cu), cadmium (Cd), iron (Fe), nickel (Ni) and lead (Pb) in ten different types of common spices available in the local markets of Tikrit. Five types of spices were purchased packed in tightly closed boxes, which are (biryani spices, turmeric, dolma, fish, mixed spices) while the others were purchased uncovered in wooden boxes or bags inside or outside the stores, which are (chicken shawarma spices, kebbeh, burker meat, curry, yellow meat broth). After the wet digestion process of each sample was conducted, the concentrations of the heavy metals based on dry weight (ppm) were estimated using the atomic absorption spectrophotometer. The digestion process and estimation of heavy metal contents were conducted in three replicates for each spice. The results demonstrated that the concentrations of heavy metals in the spices ranged between 0.584 - 3.814 ppm for copper, 0.074 - 0.885 ppm for cadmium, 6.870 - 19.370 ppm for iron. 0.521 - 1.356 ppm for nickel, and 0.014 - 0.161 ppm for lead. The copper, cadmium, iron, nickel, and lead metals were largest in the turmeric, kebbeh, curry, mixed, and curry spices respectively. These concentrations were compared with the results available in literature, organizations, and associations to determine whether these concentrations are appropriate and safe. The results showed that most of the concentrations of heavy metals in the spices studied herein were within the permissible limits and safe for human consumption.