State Key Laboratory of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu 214122, China; School of Food Science and Technology, Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu 214122, China; International Joint Research Laboratory for Probiotics at Jiangnan University, Wuxi, Jiangsu 214122 China. Electronic address: [Email]
The bioabsorption and biotoxicity of cadmium are closely related to its binding form. Currently, total concentration is used as the indicator for evaluating cadmium toxicity in food, but it might not accurately reflect cadmium's toxic effects. This study attempted to evaluate the toxicity of the different forms of cadmium including cadmium-malate, cadmium-glutathione, and cadmium-metallothionein that are commonly found in food. The in vitro physiologically based extraction test (PBET) combined with Visual MINTEQ modeling was used to predict the toxicity of different forms of cadmium, and acute toxicity testing was performed in mice for validating their results. The in vivo experimental results showed that different forms of cadmium had diverse biotoxicities of which PBET was a good predictor. In particular, the simulation of cadmium ions in PBET using the MINTEQ software revealed that the free cadmium ion content in the simulated intestinal fluid had a superior linear relationship than the total cadmium concentration with the toxicology indexes. Verification using the other two forms of cadmium confirmed the accuracy of the prediction of their biotoxicity. These findings hopefully provide an important reference for a more accurate and rapid safety assessment of cadmium in food.