Compton suppression method and epithermal NAA in the determination of nutrients and heavy metals in Nigerian food and beverages.
We used in this study Compton suppression method and epithermal neutron activation analysis to determine the concentration of nutrients and heavy metals in Nigerian food and beverages. The work was performed at the University of Texas TRIGA Reactor by short, medium, and long irradiation protocols, using thermal flux of 1.4x10(12)n cm(-2)s(-1) and epithermal flux of 1.4x10(11)n cm(-2)s(-1). Application of Compton suppression method has reduced interferences from Compton scattered photons thereby allowing easy evaluation of Na, Cl, Ca, Cu, Mn, Mg, Co, Cr, Rb, Fe, and Se. The epithermal NAA method has enabled determination of Cd, As, Ba, Sr, Br, I, and V with little turn-around time. Quality Control and Quality Assurance of the method was tested by analyzing four Standard Reference Materials (non-fat powdered milk, apple leaves, citrus leaves, and peach leaves) obtained from National Institute for Standards and Technology. Our results show that sorghum, millet, and maize have high values of Zn, Mn, Fe, low values of Cd, As, and Se. Powdered milks, rice, beans, and soybeans were found to have moderate amounts of all the elements. Tobacco recorded high content of Cd, Mn, and As, whereas tea, tsobo leaves, Baobab leaves, and okro seed have more As values than others. However, biscuits, macaroni, spaghetti, and noodles show lower concentrations of all the elements. The distribution of these nutrients and heavy metals in these food and beverages shows the need to fortify biscuits and pastas with micro and macro-nutrients and reduce the use of tobacco, tea, tsobo leaves, Baobab leaves, and Okro seed to avoid intake of heavy elements.