FOOD. Science. Technology. Quality

Food. SCIENCE. Technology. Quality

Food. Science. TECHNOLOGY. Quality

Food. Science. Technology. QUALITY




An analysis of the content of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in smoked cheeses


Background. Traditional cheeses, including smoked products, are one of the most recognizable products among consumers, due to their taste and relationship with regional history. However, the smoking process can be a source of cheese contamination due to the presence of some toxic compounds in smoke. The aim of the study was to analyze the content of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in traditional smoked and non-smoked cheeses, as well as in industrial smoked cheeses (23 samples in total). The content of PAHs (18 compounds) was determined using the modified QuECHERS method with final detection by gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry.
Results and conclusion. The total PAH content varied and ranged from 119.0 to 257.6 μg/kg in traditional non-smoked cheeses, 137.8 ÷ 625.1 μg/kg in traditional smoked cheeses and 131.8 ÷ 277.7 μg/kg in industrial smoked cheeses. Indeno[1,2,3-c,d]pyrene, dibenzo[a,h]anthracene, benzo[g,h,i]perylene were not detected in any of the analyzed cheese samples, while naphthalene, 2-methylnaphthalene, 1-methylnaphthalene, acenaphthylene, fluorene, phenanthrene, anthracene, fluoranthene were identified in all the tested samples. Benzo[a]pyrene was identified in nine cheese samples (6/11 samples of traditional smoked cheeses, one sample of non-smoked cheese and two out of seven samples of smoked cheeses from industrial production), in the range of 1.5 ÷ 6.5 μg/kg. The occurrence of the so-called PAH markers was found in both smoked and non-smoked cheeses, which suggests that contamination with the hydrocarbons being examined might occur as early as at the raw material production stage, before the smoking process. However, no statistically significant differences were found between the three groups of cheeses, both in the total PAH and the PAH4 sum.


polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, smoked cheeses, regional cheeses, QuECHERS, cancerogenic compounds