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Zinc levels in foods from southeastern Spain: relationship to daily dietary intake

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The zinc content of 300 food and 79 beverage samples was determined using flame atomic absorption spectrometry. Sample recoveries, repeatability, and analyses of NIST and CBR-CEC reference materials demonstrated the reliability and accuracy of this technique. Mean zinc concentrations varied from 0.02 µg/ml in fresh water to 71.0 µg/g (fresh weight) in pork liver. The daily dietary intake of zinc for inhabitants of southeastern Spain was estimated to be 10.1 mg (5.5, 4.0, 0.5, and 0.1 mg Zn/day per person from foods of animal and vegetable origin, drinks, and other foods, respectively). Zinc levels found in high protein foods (meat, fish, milk products, eggs, dry fruits, cereals and legumes) were significantly higher than those found in food with a low protein content (vegetables, fruits and drinks) (p < 0.001). A significant linear correlation between zinc levels and the corresponding protein content of cereals, legumes and dry fruits was found (r = 0.754, p < 0.005). Zinc concentrations in milk samples were significanlty modified by the thermal treatment (p < 0.001), and the skimming (p < 0.05) and calcium enrichment processes (p < 0.001). Shellfish zinc levels were also significantly higher than those measured in fish (p < 0.05). Mean zinc concentrations found in cheese were statistically higher than those determined in the remaining milk products (p < 0.001). Zinc levels measured in distilled beverages were also statistically lower than those found in fermented ones (p < 0.001).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2001

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