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INAA and AAS of different products from sugar cane industry in Pakistan: Toxic trace elements for nutritional safety

Instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA) have been used to determine As, Br, Hg, Sb and Se in combination with atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) as a complementary technique for the quantification of Cd and Pb in jaggery, brown sugar, white sugar and molasses. All sugar cane products were collected from the local sugar cane industry of Pakistan. The highest concentration of these potentially toxic elements was quantified in molasses; however, molasses together with jaggery, brown sugar and white sugar contains trace amounts of all of these elements. Due to very low concentration of Cd it could only be detected in molasses. To evaluate the percentage contribution of these elements in the sugar cane products to the weekly recommended values, intakes on weekly consumption of 100 g of each item have also been calculated which follow the pattern Br>Se>Pb>Hg>As>Sb. The elevated Br contents may be attributed to the use of Br-containing chemicals for fumigation; however, these contents are well within the tolerance levels. The estimated weekly intake of all toxic elements is very low indicating that sugar cane products can be safely ingested as part of the diets.

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