In 10 different marine algae from the littoral zone (found between the highest and lowest tide marks on the seashore) arsenic compounds were determined by means of a high-performance liquid chromatography (anion and cation exchange)-UV photochemical digestion-hydride generation-atomic fluorescence spectrometry (HPLC-UV-HGAFS) system. Samples (Ceramium sp., Cystoseira barbata, Enteromorpha sp., Fucus virsoides, two different species of Gelidium, Padina pavonica, Polisyphonia sp. and Ulva rigida) were collected along the Adriatic Sea coast of Slovenia. The total arsenic content of the algal samples, as determined by ICP-MS, ranged from 1.35 to 28.1 mu g g(-1) (fresh weight). In all algae but two, the most abundant arsenic species found were arsenosugars with minor amounts of other arsenic compounds. Cystoseira barbata and Ceramium sp. contained high amounts of mainly inorganic arsenic. A small quantity of arsenobetaine was detected in most of the investigated Adriatic algae, which probably originates from mesofauna attached to the algae in their natural habitat. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.