Food chemistry

The occurrence of semicarbazide in the meat and shell of Bangladeshi fresh-water shrimp.

PMID 23194563


There is evidence that semicarbazide (SEM), a marker for the banned nitrofuran nitrofurazone, can arise from other, unrelated sources. Recently, Belgium rejected 54 consignments of Bangladeshi freshwater shrimp (Macrobrachium rosenbergii), following a laboratory decision to test meat and exoskeleton combined. To study the possible natural occurrence of SEM in wild shrimp, samples were collected and analysed from 29 sites across Bangladesh. SEM (<1.0 μg/kg) was detected in ∼65% of meat samples. However, SEM concentrations were approximately 100 times higher in the exoskeleton, and were unrelated to sampling location, strongly suggesting natural occurrence. In meat, most SEM was surface-associated. When the shrimp was shelled, some of the epidermal layer (which synthesises new exoskeleton) remained with the shell and some remained with the meat--leading to differing levels of natural SEM on the shrimp surface. This has implications for the use of SEM and the analytical strategy used to control nitrofuran use.