Load of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in edible vegetable oils: importance of alkylated derivatives.
ABSTRACT The presence of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) has been studied in different samples of olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, and refined seed oils. A high number of PAHs have been found, with a wide range of molecular weights and in concentrations that are high or even very high compared with the data obtained by other authors, especially in the seed oils. Among the PAHs identified, more than half are alkylated compounds, which account for the major part of the total PAH concentration in some of the samples. The total PAH concentrations in olive oils and extra virgin olive oils are similar, but the former present a higher proportion of heavy PAHs than the latter. The seed oils, in general, have much higher concentrations than the different types of olive oil and their PAH profiles are different. One of the olive oil samples exhibited a PAH distribution similar to that observed in olive pomace oil, suggesting possible adulteration. These data reveal that, in some cases, PAH profile provides useful information in relation to the possible origin of the contamination. We also observed large differences in PAH distribution between oils with the same label but from different batches. PAHs with varying degrees of carcinogenicity have been identified in all the samples, including benzo[a]pyrene, although this PAH was identified neither in the extra virgin olive oils nor in two of the seed oil samples.