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Organoarsenicals in Foods: Occurrence and Toxicological Effects of Chronic Exposure

Assistant Professor Amrika Deonarine, Texas Tech University
Room S105

Arsenic is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant, exposure to which
has been linked to cancer, cardiological disease, and cognitive
deficiencies Much emphasis has been placed on arsenic exposure to
drinking water, however, the majority of arsenic exposure occurs
through diet and across lifetime Foods such as seafood, cereals, and
fruits contribute to approximately 93 of arsenic exposure in humans,
yet, there are few guidelines or recommendations regarding arsenic in
foods This is due to the complexity of arsenic speciation in foods and
the challenges involved in assessing their prevalence and potential
toxic effects Arsenic in foods is present mostly as organoarsenic
species (e g arsenobetaine arsenolipids arsenosugarphospholipids
methylated arsenates) emergent compounds whose structures,
prevalence, and toxicity are understudied In my group, our long term
goal is to examine the speciation, occurrence, and toxicity of arsenic in
foods, infant foods (largely cereal based) and seafoods, in particular
Analytical methods utilized include hyphenated liquid
chromatography inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry, and
liquid chromatography quadrupole time of flight mass spectrometry In
collaboration with researchers at TTU Health Sciences Center and the
University of California Merced, we also conduct in vivo studies to
investigate the bioaccumulation, biotransformation, and toxicological
effects of synthesized organoarsenicals using an in vivo mouse model
The results of this work are relevant for the development of arsenic
related dietary guidelines and regulations

About the speaker
Dr. Amrika Deonarine received her BS in Civil and Environmental
Engineering from Florida International University, Miami FL USA
2005 followed by a Ph D in Civil and Environmental Engineering
from Duke University, Durham NC USA 2011 She was awarded a
Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellowship at the US Geological Survey
from 2011 2014 in Reston, VA USA Dr Deonarine completed another
postdoc at the University of Bern before starting an Assistant
Professorship at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX USA in 2019
Dr Deonarine’s research focus is on metal and trace element
biogeochemical cycling and transformation processes, with a specific
emphasis on understanding chemical speciation Her work is
applicable to element transport and environmental fate, remediation of
contaminated sites and drinking water sources, the intersection of
environment and health, and resource recovery from wastes