Author(s): Gulzar I Ibrahim, Lutfia M Hassan, Shirwan O Baban, Sirwan S Fadhil
Herbs and spices are sources of many bioactive compounds that can improve the taste of foods as well as their influence on digestion and metabolism processes. They can also contain some undesirable components that can be harmful, e.g. micotoxins, pesticides, heavy metals, and polycyclic carbohydrates residues. The objective of this study was to determine metals content in the most popular spices and herbs used in local market in Erbil. The content of these metals was assayed by Atomic absorption spectrophotometric method. The study showed differences in metal concentration according to the plant part (Rhizomes, Seed, Leaf, and fruit). The concentration ranged on dry basis were : ( 6.1- 47.0), (56-650), (6-44), (10.5-22.5), (8.5- 26.5), (26-88.6), (1.25-14.6), and (0.045-1.35) mg/kg for the metals, Zn, Fe, Cu, Cr, Co, Mn, Pb, and Cd respectively. Most of the metal levels in the spices were acceptable with the exception of Pb, Cu and Cd which were above the standard limit approved by World Health Organization (WHO) and Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), Pb was above the standard level for fenugreek, cinnamon, Cd was above the standard level for ginger. Consumers of these spices would not be exposed to any risk associated with the daily in take of 10g of spices per day containing the following metals; Zn, Fe, Cu, Cr, Co, Mn.but there are danger from fenugreek and cinnamon for Pb, while the danger of ginger is from Cd. Generally most of the spices available in the market are safe for human consumption except for Pb and Cd.