Heat treatments of food by traditional procedures such
as smoking, barbecuing and frying result in the formation of harmful substances
(e.g. mutagens and carcinogens). Some of these harmful substances are the
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) which are composed of benzene rings and
more than a hundred different compounds exist.
Analysis of PAH in food is traditionally performed by
extraction of lipids and PAH’s, followed by time consuming clean-up steps and detection
by either mass spectrometry (MS) or Fluorescence (FLD) coupled to either capillary
gas chromatography (GC) or liquid chromatography (LC). This method requires
good sample preparation and long run times.
Screening for PAH should be fast and easy e.g.
by application of QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Efficient, Rugged and Safe)
extraction generally used for pesticide analysis of fruit and vegetables. The
extraction is based upon application of different ready-made salts and/or
sorbent material for shaking and analysis. A preliminary study using dispersive
zirconium material for clean-up has showed promising results. An optimization
of choice of sorbent material is now relevant for application of the method in
the food control. For detection we use GC-QTOF-MS.
Experience or ambitions on application of experimental set-up for analysis are an advantage but no requirement for a successful project.