Studying variations in the PCDD/PCDF profile across various food products using multivariate statistical analysis

Antignac, Jean-Philippe; Marchand, Philippe; Gade, Christel; Matayron, Gilles; Qannari, El Mostafa; Le Bizec, Bruno; Andre, François
December 2005
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Dec2005, Vol. 384 Issue 1, p271
Academic Journal
Polychlorinated dibenzo- p-dioxins (PCDD) and polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF) are widely recognized by the scientific community as persistent organic pollutants due to their toxicity and adverse effects on wildlife and human health. The actual regulation dedicated to the monitoring of dioxins in food is based on the measurement of 17 congener concentrations. The final result is reported as a toxic equivalent value that takes into account the relative toxicity of each congener. This procedure can minimize the qualitative information available from the abundances of each PCDD/PCDF congener: the characteristic contamination profile of the sample. Multivariate statistical techniques, such as principal component analysis (PCA) or linear discriminant analysis (LDA), represent an interesting way to investigate this qualitative information. Nevertheless, they have only been applied to the analysis of contamination data from food products and biological matrices infrequently. The objective of the present study was to analyze a large data set from dioxin analyses performed on various food products of animal origin. The results demonstrate the existence of differences in congener-specific patterns between the analyzed samples. Variability was first demonstrated in terms of the food type (fish, meat, milk, fatty products). Then a variability was observed that was related to the specific animal species for meat and milk samples (bovine, ovine, porcine, caprine and poultry). Some practical applications of these results are discussed. The origin(s) of the observed differences, as well as their significance, now remain to be investigated, both in terms of environmental factors and transfer through living organisms. A better knowledge of the relation between a contamination profile and its specific source and/or food product should be of great interest to scientists working in the fields of contaminant analysis, toxicology and metabolism, as well as to regulatory bodies and risk assessors in charge of final decisions regarding the eventual hazards associated with theses substances.


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