Seaweeds are known to contain a wide variety of different arsenic compounds. These can range from the inorganic forms arsenite and arsenate, to larger biological molecules like sugars, hydrocarbons, fatty acids and phospholipids. For the lipid-soluble species in particular there is very limited information regarding their chemical structure, chemical properties and toxicity. This project aims to provide a full analysis of the arsenic species in brown, red and green Icelandic seaweeds. Obtaining more information on the distribution within the plants may also contribute to understanding more about how the seaweed stores different arsenic species in different parts of the organism and help elucidate if/what purpose they may serve and how they are formed. This work will contribute to a higher understanding of these compounds and provide the necessary information for the risk assessment of arsenic species in seaweed for human consumption. This project will also provide crucial reference data with clear relevance to public health concerns and may have an impact on future legislation with regards to food safety.
Ásta Heiðrún E. Pétursdóttir