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Screening and Determination of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Seafoods Using QuEChERS-Based Extraction and High-Performance Liquid Chromatography with Fluorescence Detection

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A rapid, sensitive, and accurate method for the screening and determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) in edible seafood is described. The method uses quick, easy, cheap, effective, rugged, and safe (QuEChERS)-based extraction and HPLC with fluorescence detection (FLD). The method was developed and validated in response to the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Rapid and highly sensitive PAH screening methods are critical tools needed for oil spill response; they help to assess when seafood is safe for harvesting and consumption. Sample preparation involves SPE of edible seafood portions with acetonitrile, followed by the addition of salts to induce water partitioning. After centrifugation, a portion of the acetonitrile layer is filtered prior to analysis via HPLC-FLD. The chromatographic method uses a polymeric C18 stationary phase designed for PAH analysis with gradient elution, and it resolves 15 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency priority parent PAHs in fewer than 20 min. The procedure was validated in three laboratories for the parent PAHs using spike recovery experiments at PAH fortification levels ranging from 25 to 10 000 μg/kg in oysters, shrimp, crab, and finfish, with recoveries ranging from 78 to 99%. Additional validation was conducted for a series of alkylated homologs of naphthalene, dibenzothiophene, and phenanthrene, with recoveries ranging from 87 to 128%. Method accuracy was further assessed based on analysis of National Institute of Standards and Technology Standard Reference Material 1974b. The method provides method detection limits in the sub to low ppb (μg/kg) range, and practical LOQs in the low ppb (μg/kg) range for most of the PAH compounds studied.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2011-09-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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