Bioavailability Assessment of Essential and Toxic Metals in Edible Nuts and Seeds



Bioavailability of essential and toxic metals in edible nuts and seeds has been assessed by using an in vitro dialyzability approach. The samples studied included walnuts, Brazil nuts, Macadamia nuts, pecans, hazelnuts, chestnuts, cashews, peanuts, pistachios and seeds (almond, pine, pumpkin and sunflower). Metals were measured by inductively coupled plasma-mass spectrometry in dialyzates and also in samples after a microwave assisted acid digestion pre-treatment. Low dialyzability percentages were found for Al, Fe and Hg; moderate percentages were found for Ba, Ca, Cd, Co, Cu, K, Li, Mg, Mn, Mo, P, Pb, Se, Sr, Tl and Zn; and high dialyzability ratios were found for As, Cr and Ni. The highest dialyzability percentages were found in raw chestnuts and raw hazelnuts. Metal dialyzability was found to be negatively affected by fat content. Positive correlation was found between carbohydrate content and metal dialyzability ratios. Protein and dietary fibre content did not influence metal bioavailability. Predicted dialyzability for some metals based on fat and protein content could also be established.