Detection of arsenic-containing hydrocarbons in a range of commercial fish oils by GC-ICPMS analysis

Veronika Sele, Heidi Amlund, Marc H. G. Berntssen, Jannicke A. Berntsen, Kasper Skov, Jens Jørgen Sloth

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The present study describes the use of a simple solid-phase extraction procedure for the extraction of arsenic-containing hydrocarbons from fish oil followed by analysis using gas chromatography (GC) coupled to inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICPMS). The procedure permitted the analysis of a small sample amount, and the method was applied on a range of different commercial fish oils, including oils of anchovy (Engraulis ringens), Atlantic herring (Clupea harengus), sand eel (Ammodytes marinus), blue whiting (Micromesistius poutassou) and a commercial mixed fish oil (mix of oils of Atlantic herring, Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) and saithe (Pollachius virens)). Total arsenic concentrations in the fish oils and in the extracts of the fish oils were determined by microwave-assisted acid digestion and ICPMS. The arsenic concentrations in the fish oils ranged from 5.9 to 8.7 mg kg-1. Three dominant arsenic-containing hydrocarbons in addition to one minor unidentified compound were detected in all the oils using GC-ICPMS. The molecular structures of the arsenic-containing hydrocarbons, dimethylarsinoyl hydrocarbons (C17H38AsO, C19H42AsO, C23H38AsO), were verified using GC coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), and the accurate masses of the compounds were verified using quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (qTOF-MS). Additionally, total arsenic and the arsenic-containing hydrocarbons were studied in decontaminated and in non-decontaminated fish oils, where a reduced arsenic concentration was seen in the decontaminated fish oils. This provided an insight to how a decontamination procedure originally ascribed for the removal of persistent organic pollutants affects the level of arsenolipids present in fish oils. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number15
Pages (from-to)5179-5190
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Arsenic
  • Decontamination
  • Extraction
  • Gas chromatography
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry
  • Organic pollutants
  • Arsenic compounds


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