5. INTERNATIONAL FOOD, AGRICULTURE AND VETERINARY SCIENCES CONGRESS, Kars, Turkey, 17 - 19 March 2023, pp.307
Mercury (Hg) is one of the most harmful metals to human health, found in air, water, and soil; exposure to even small amounts may cause serious health problems for many human organs. As a result of various human activities, soil contamination with this toxic metal is possible, thus its transmission to his food. Traditionally, durum wheat is an essential source of daily human food, especially in West Asia, Southern Europe, and North Africa. It is produced for different types of foods or end-products. Some toxic elements, including mercury, can be accumulated in durum wheat grains. A panel of 130 durum wheat genotypes was selected and evaluated for Hg contents using inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) to ensure food safety, a vital issue and subject of constant human concern. The panel mainly four groups, including local commercial Turkish and foreign cultivars, landraces (ex-situ LDs), and landraces domestically grown (in-situ LDs), 50, 21, 44, and 15 genotypes, respectively. Hg contents varied from 0 – 0.028 mg/kg, averaging 0.0015 mg/kg. According to international standard requirements, 95% of the studied genotypes meet international standards levels for Hg contents and did not exceed (0.010 mg/kg). Among studied genotypes, 78% are safe and entirely free of mercury traces.
By comparing the four groups, the number of genotypes free of mercury contents was as follows in-situ ˃foreign cultivars˃ ex-situ˃ Turkish cultivars. Where wholly of the In-situ landraces and foreign cultivars groups were safe and far from the maximum allowed Hg levels. In contrast, only six of the studied genotypes, two from Turkish cultivars and four Ex-situ landraces, showed toxicity higher than the international limits. Results showed it is safe to use those genotypes free of Hg contents for durum wheat breeding programs, their end-product, and therefore promote the health of its consumers.