Detection and Quantitation of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in Spice Oleoresins and Extracts
Thamann, Victoria J.
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are a class of nonpolar organic compounds that appear naturally in the environment through the incomplete combustion of organic fuels such as wood and coal. The highest levels of human exposure to PAHs, however, often occur as a result of food processing, automobile exhaust, and tobacco smoke. Food contamination by PAHs is particularly of high concern due to the carcinogenic and genotoxic effects several PAHs have on the human body. Raw spices, oleoresins, and extracts, specifically, have been found to contain PAHs as a result of their processing methods. This is significant to food-manufacturing companies that sell within the EU, such as KalsecÒ, the Kalamazoo Spice Extraction Company, due to the European Union’s strict regulatory limits on PAHs in foodstuffs. In order to measure PAH levels in foodstuffs, instrumental analysis is required. Common methods of instrumental analysis of PAHs include high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with fluorescence detection (FLD), gas chromatography (GC) with flame ionization detection (FID), and gas chromatography (GC) coupled with mass spectrometry (MS). Through extensive testing however, GC-MS/MS was found to best fit the available equipment and required sensitivity, by yielding limits of detection (LOD) as low as 0.119 ppb in an oregano sample.
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