Sensitive method for the determination of nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the human diet

Siegmund, Barbara; Weiss, Richard; Pfannhauser, Werner
January 2003
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Jan2003, Vol. 375 Issue 1, p175
Academic Journal
Abstract The presence of nitrated polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (nitro-PAHs) as contaminants in foods is nowadays a legitimate cause of concern, as they are reported to be strong direct-acting mutagens and carcinogens that may pose a risk to human health. Nevertheless, their concentrations in foods are in the ultra-trace region. In this study, we present a very sensitive analytical method for the determination of this compound class in complex food matrices. Special emphasis was put on sample extraction and clean up. Recoveries of 75% could be obtained for 1- and 2-nitronaphthalene; for all other compounds investigated the recoveries were ≥94%. The determination of the compounds was performed by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry. The results show that the use of negative chemical ionization (NCI) increases the sensitivity by one order of magnitude in comparison to electron impact ionization (EI) (limits of detection 0.07–0.25 µg kg-1 for EI and 0.01–0.02 µg kg-1 for NCI). The influence of the sample matrix on the sensitivity of the method is demonstrated with extracts of a sample from a duplicate diet study. Due to the lack of a certified reference material the suitability of the method is demonstrated with pumpkin seed oil that was spiked with nitro-PAHs at two different concentration levels.


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