Main content area

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in smoke used to smoke cheese produced by the combustion of rock rose (Cistus monspeliensis) and tree heather (Erica arborea) wood

Conde, F.J., Ayala, J.H., Afonso, A.M., Gonzalez, V.
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2005 v.53 no.1 pp. 176-182
polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, smoke formulations, wood, Cistus, Erica arborea, combustion, smoking (food products), smoked cheeses, food contamination, food safety
In this work, the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their methyl derivatives concentrations have been determined in smoke from the rock rose and tree heather wood combustion. The combustion is done in two types of smokers, kiln and drum, commonly used in the Canary Islands (Spain) to smoke cheese. The low control of the operational conditions justify the great variability of the PAHs concentration in the emissions, with values between 251.8 and 2547 microgram/m3N. In general, the lowest concentrations correspond to the tree heather wood combustion in the drum, while the highest concentrations are usually reached in the rock rose wood combustion in the kiln. However, the relative contributions of each PAH to the total concentration are independently similar to the type of smoker and wood used. In the combustion conditions, the equilibrium is not reached during the PAHs distribution process between the gas and aerosol phases. Therefore, while naphthalene and their 1- and 2-methyl derivatives remain in the gas phase, phenanthrene and PAHs with higher molecular weight remain mainly in the aerosol phase. In this phase, the PAHs concentration represents 39.9% of the total PAHs produced by burning rock rose wood and 29.1% of the total PAHs when tree heather wood is used. To establish the carcinogenic potential in both phases, the percentages of some PAHs were calculated. These values are significantly higher in the aerosol phase and, at the same time, higher when rock rose wood is used.