Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are carcinogenic substances that are mainly generated during heating in food; therefore, the European Union (EU) has regulated the amount of benzo[a]pyrene and PAH4 in various types of food. In addition, the Scientific Committee on Food of the EU and the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization Expert Committee on Food Additives have recommended that 16 PAHs should be monitored. Since coffee beverages and dark beer are roasted during manufacture, monitoring these 16 PAHs is of great importance. On the other hand, supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) is a separation method that has garnered attention in recent years as a complement for liquid and gas chromatography. Therefore, we developed a rapid high-sensitivity analytical method for the above-mentioned 16 PAHs in coffee beverages and dark beer involving supercritical fluid chromatography/atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-mass spectrometry (SFC/APCI-MS) and simple sample preparation. In this study, we developed a novel analytical technique that increased the sensitivity of MS detection by varying the back-pressure in SFC depending on the elution of PAHs. In addition, analysis of commercially available coffee and dark beer samples in Japan showed that the risk of containing the 16 PAHs may be low.
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