DISTRIBUTION OF POLYCYCLIC AROMATIC HYDROCARBONS (PAHs) IN SOME CHARCOAL ROASTED FOODS COMMONLY CONSUMED IN PORT HARCOURT, NIGERIA

Virginia I. P. NITONYE, Michael HORSFALL Jnr., Mark O. ONYEMA

Abstract

Sixteen (16) priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated in commonly consumed charcoal roasted foods prepared by roadside vendors in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Charcoal roasted fish (CR-FH), meat (CR-MT), plantain (CR-PN) and yam (CR-YM) were homogenized, extracted, fractionated and for PAH analysis, gas chromatography flame ionization detector (GC-FID) system was used. Eleven (11) PAHs were identified in CR-FH, 14 in CR-MT, 11 in CR-PN and 13 in CR-YM with total concentrations of 166.48 mg/kg, 91.46 mg/kg, 68.39 mg/kg and 70.36 mg/kg respectively. Fluoranthene was observed to be the most prominent PAH in all the charcoal roasted food samples, being the most abundant in CR-FH, CR-MT and CR-PN with the concentrations of 113.6 µg/kg (68.23%), 37.4 µg/kg (40.87%) and 39.8 µg/kg (58.21%) respectively and the next most abundant in CR-YM with a concentration of  17.8 µg/kg (25.36%). The compositions of PAHs in the charcoal roasted foods revealed the 4-6 ring high molecular weight (HMW), from 97.21 - 98.75%, were considerably dominant over the 2-3 ring low molecular weight (LMW), from 1.25 - 2.79%, which were only minor. Ratio values of PAH isomers for Phe/Ant 0.05; Fth/Pyr, from 2.00 - 4.89 and BaA/Chr, from 0.60 - 17.63, indicate PAHs in the charcoal roasted foods were pyrogenic and derived from the combustion of foods. From the results, charcoal roasting of fish, meat, plantain and yam prepared by roadside vendors and commonly consumed in Port Harcourt, Nigeria contaminated the foods with PAHs.

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