Pure Appl. Chem., 2012, Vol. 84, No. 2, pp. 313-324
Published online 2011-12-21
Cerium in human milk samples and its transfer from blood to milk: Is there an elevated nutritional risk for breast-fed babies?
Abstract: The general population is increasingly exposed to cerium (Ce), which is contained in industrial products or is present as nuclear Ce fission products. Some studies suggested a link between elevated Ce levels and endomyocardial fibrosis. Since breast milk is the optimal, and directly after birth, usually the sole nutrition for newborns, exposure of females to Ce and its transfer to infants by breast-feeding is of concern in neonate protection. Consequently, the transfer rate of Ce from blood to breast milk is of interest for elucidating the Ce exposure of infants. Biomonitoring of paired serum and breast milk samples provides such information about Ce transfer to human milk. Therefore, this study is aimed at clarification of the relationship between Ce in human milk and serum from respective mothers for elucidating Ce enrichment in human milk with possible nutritional risk for newborns. As a prerequisite a strictly quality-controlled Ce determination method applicable to very low Ce concentration was developed, and its figures of merit were determined and found to be sufficient for our purpose. It turned out that Ce concentration in milk from Munich (Germany) and Madrid (Spain) showed a median of 13 ng/L. Ce concentrations in serum were at limit of quantification (LOQ) 10 ng/L (Munich) or 21.6–70.3 ng/L (Madrid), suggesting a higher Ce intake in Madrid. No enrichment from blood to milk was seen, and no elevated nutritional risk for breast-fed babies from Ce was found. Ce in serum, but not in milk, could indicate environmental Ce.
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