Occurrence of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs) in electric grilled foods commonly consumed in Port Harcourt, Nigeria: Distribution and contamination profiles
United State Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) priority polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were investigated in electric grilled (EG) foods: plantain (EG-PN), meat (EG-MT), yam (EG-YM) and fish (EG-FH), commonly consumed in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, southern Nigeria. Distribution and concentrations of PAHs in the EG food samples were obtained by gas chromatography (GC) nalyses, after extraction using hexane/dichloromethane (1:3 v/v) and clean up by column chromatography. GC analyses identified 13 to 16 PAHs in the food samples with 10 observed to occur in all. Fluoranthene, pyrene (4-ring PAHs) and benzo(a)pyrene (5-ring PAH) were the most abundant, while the 2- and 3-ring PAHs were generally minor constituents or absent. Concentrations of PAHs in the EG foods ranged from 15.73 to 67.13 µg/kg and was observed to decrease in the order EG-PN>EG-MT > EG-YM > EG-FH with increase in grilling time. Ratios used as diagnostic indices of PAH formation processes indicate a combustion source for PAHs in the food samples and revealed electric grilling generated PAHs which contaminated the foods. Benzo(a)pyrene (BaP), used as a marker for PAH contamination in foods, had concentrations of 7.51 μg/kg, 2.68 μg/kg, 2.33 μg/kg and 1.85 μg/kg in EG-PN, EG-MT, EG-YM and EG-FH respectively. These values were above the maximum limit of 2 μg/kg set by the European Union, except for EG-FH which was slightly lower.