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Arsenic

An element found in the environment. Courtney Tanabe, 2016

Arsenic (As) is an element naturally found in the environment as multiple species in both organic and inorganic forms. The levels of As are continuously increasing due to natural sources that have caused an accumulation of the element in the environment. Because of its natural presence in farmland soil, As has made its way into the food chain including grapes used for winemaking. Recently there has been an increase in public concern over As content in wine from California, however, the elemental concentration in wine is not regulated in the US. Concentrations that have been reported in wine around the world is included in Table 1 with levels ranging from 0.12 to 30 µg/L. These levels are below regulatory levels maintained in Ontario and Europe, 100mg/L and 200 mg/L, respectively.

Very few studies have been conducted on the origin of As in winemaking. Some reports have shown subsequent wine that was produced from vineyards in areas where anthropogenic contamination occurred contained slightly higher levels of As. However, the reports also contained contradictory results on which wine types (red vs. white) would have higher concentrations of As. It has been shown that the As content will normally decrease during the winemaking process but the extent and cause is not clear. Furthermore, materials used in the production of a wine, such as bentonite, could affect the final concentration of As. Although, the levels of As in wine that have been reported are below regulatory limits, consideration and care should be taken of the starting materials used in wine production to ensure low levels of As in wine.

 

Table. Total and species concentration of As found in literature.

Arsenic concentration (µg/L)

Total As

As(V)

As(III)

MMA

DMA

Reference

2.1-14.6

0.7-6.7

0.6-3.8

1.5-9.6

0.7-15.1

(Herce-Pagliai et al., 2002)

13.0-25.7

8.6-17.8

2.9-10.3

Na

<0.45-1.07

(Moreira et al., 2011)

0.5-10

<LOD

<LOD-7.6

Na

Na

(Karadjova et al., 2005)

0.5-30

Na

Na

Na

Na

(Tasev et al., 2005)

0.12-1.62

Na

Na

Na

Na

(Bertoldi et al., 2013)

0.58-8.45

Na

Na

Na

Na

(Barbaste et al., 2003)

3.0-4.8

Na

Na

Na

Na

(Aguilar et al., 1987a)

<3.9

Na

Na

Na

Na

(Ajtony et al., 2008)

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