Selenium and other heavy metal levels in different rice brands commonly consumed in Pretoria, South Africa

Oluwaseun Mary Oladeji*, Kgomotso Magoro, Liziwe Lizbeth Mugivhisa, Joshua Oluwole Olowoyo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


For centuries, rice has been a dietary staple food partially due to its accessibility, affordability, and nutritional content. However, it has been documented that plants can bioaccumulate trace elements from soil and store them in their tissues therefore necessitating monitoring of its nutritional quality. The current study investigated the Selenium and heavy metal contents of various brands of rice obtained from different retail stores in Pretoria, South Africa. The analysis was carried out using different rice samples and different methods/stages of cooking rice including the analysis of rinsed rice water (RW), raw rice (RR), cooked rice (CR), and cooked rice water (CW), for trace elements content using the Inductive Couple Plasma Mass Spectrometry. The results revealed that the Se content ranged from 0.013 ± 0.01 mg/kg - 0.089 ± 0.06 mg/kg in RR, 0.013 ± 0.01 mg/kg - 0.046 ± 0.01 mg/kg in CR, 0.01 ± 0.01mg/kg– 0.028 ± 0.00 mg/kg in RW and 0.01 ± 0.01 mg/kg - 0.048 ± 0.01 mg/kg in CW. The calculated estimated dietary intake (EDI) of Se was recorded as follows; raw rice (7.06 × 10−5 mg/day), cooked rice (5.01 × 10−5 mg/day), water from cooked rice (4.54 × 10−5 mg/day) and rinsed water of raw rice (3.97 × 10−5 mg/day). The concentrations of all other heavy metals measured were within the WHO-recommended limits. The HQ for all the trace metals in all the samples did not exceed one, implying that there is no health risk from trace metals analysed in this study from the consumption of the rice brands used in this study. The results of this study demonstrated that reliance on rice alone for the supply of Se may be inadequate owing to the values obtained in our study. Constant monitoring of the nutritional contents of food products may be required to improve the overall nutritional well-being of the consumers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere29757
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2024


  • Heavy metals
  • ICP-MS
  • Pretoria
  • Rice
  • Selenium
  • South Africa


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