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Food Addit Contam Part A Chem Anal Control Expo Risk Assess. 2010 Jun;27(6):869-78. doi: 10.1080/19440040903493793.

Benzo[a]pyrene and total polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) levels in vegetable oils and fats do not reflect the occurrence of the eight genotoxic PAHs.

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Biotechnology Department, Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, 13109 Safat, Kuwait.


Concentrations of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were determined in 115 samples of olive oil (extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, olive oil, pomace olive oil and blended olive oil), cooking oil (corn oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, palm olein oil, soya oil, canola oil, mustard oil, peanut oil and mixed vegetable oil) and fat (butter and table margarine) collected from retail stores in Kuwait. Carcinogenic benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) was detected in 43% of the samples analyzed. Benz[a]anthracene and chrysene were detected in 37 and 45% of the samples, respectively, that did not contain BaP. Of the individual non-carcinogenic PAHs, naphthalene showed the highest mean concentration (14 microg kg(-1)), while for the carcinogenic PAHs, BaP (0.92 microg kg(-1)) and chrysene (0.87 microg kg(-1)) showed the highest mean values. Approximately 20% of the samples within the olive oil and cooking oil sub-categories exceeded the EU maximum tolerable limit for BaP, with the highest level of 6.77 and 11.1 microg kg(-1), respectively. For the fat sub-category, 9% of the samples exceeded the tolerance limit, with the highest level of 3.67 microg kg(-1). The Kuwaiti general population's dietary exposure to the genotoxic PAHs (PAH8: benz[a]anthracene, chrysene, benzo[b]fluoranthene, benzo[k]fluoranthene, benzo[a]pyrene, indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene, dibenz[a,h]anthracene and benzo[ghi]perylene) was estimated to be 196 ng day(-1) (3.3 ng kg(-1) bw day(-1), assuming an average adult body weight of 60 kg). Results indicated that PAH8 and BaP(eq) (total sum benzo[a]pyrene equivalents) are more reliable measures of the concentrations of other carcinogenic PAHs in oil and fat samples, while BaP and PAHs alone are not good indicators of the occurrence or degree of contamination by carcinogenic PAHs in these food products.

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