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Home » Archive » 2020

TDK conference 2020

The connection between polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination of fruits sold outdoors and air quality in big cities
Diriczi Tekla - year 6
University of Veterinary Medicine Budapest, Department of Food Hygiene
Supervisor: Dr. Katalin Lányi

Abstract:

The aim of my research was to learn more about the connection between polyaromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination on fruits sold outdoors and air quality in big cities. The fruits used as samples came from stores in Budapest, Szeged, Debrecen, Miskolc, Győr, Békéscsaba and Schladming (Austria). We used up-to-date information from the World Air Quality Index website to monitor the current air quality at each location. We bought fruits at different dates when air quality was rated ‘good’, ‘moderate’ and ‘harmful to health’. The term polyaromatic hydrocarbon refers to a group of organic compounds consisting of two or more fused rings containing only carbon and hydrogen atoms formed by incomplete combustion of organic matter. Many of them are known to be carcinogenic, teratogenic and mutagenic. One of the main sources of PAH contamination of the air is traffic, industrial activity and residential heating. They can enter the human body through the respiratory tract and through the ingestion of contaminated food.

PAHs settle to the surface of food sold outdoors being connected to the solid particles of the air. It is important to be aware of the amount of PAHs found in foods, as their consumption can lead to the development of different types of cancer.

After a simplified QuEChERS sample preparation, the amounts of ‘EU PAH4’ compounds (chrysene, benz(a)anthracene, benzo(b)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene) were measured using fluorescent HPLC.

Based on the results obtained during the studies, it can be said that air pollution has a perceptible effect on PAH contamination of fruits sold outdoors. However, the differences did not always prove to be statistically significant, supporting the well-described fact that air pollution is an important factor in the PAH contamination of foods; however the conditions of production, transport and storage also play important roles.



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