Rapid Extraction of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Apple: Ultrasound-Assisted Solvent Extraction Followed by Microextraction by Packed Sorbent


Common procedures for polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) extraction involve the use of large amount of solvents and a long extraction time. To address these difficulties, ultrasound-assisted solvent extraction followed by microextraction by packed sorbent (UAE-MEPS) was investigated as a novel extraction procedure for the recovery of PAHs from apple, a model of solid vegetal food matrix. The most suitable sorbent and the eluting solvent for PAHs recovery through MEPS were determined. The performances of the whole procedure were tested through the determination of linearity, accuracy, and sensitivity after GC-MS analyses. Linearity assays, within 0 to 10 μg/kg in apple (9 points), provided determination coefficients around 0.993 (median value) for all studied PAHs. Repeatability tests (n = 3) and intermediate precision (n = 9) showed relative standard deviation between 1 and 12%. Limits of detection were determined between 0.04 and 0.13 μg/kg wet weight (w.w.) and limits of quantification were between 0.12 and 0.43 μg/kg w.w. These performances allowed the trace level determination of PAHs in apples collected in different crop environments. The proposed UAE-MEPS procedure is rapid and few solvent consuming compared to other conventional techniques for PAHs extraction.

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Fig. 1



Ultrasound-assisted solvent extraction


Microextraction by packed sorbent


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons


Molecular weight


Wet weight


Solid–liquid extraction


Solid-phase extraction


Polystyrene–divinylbenzene copolymer


Molecular imprinted polymers


Pressurized liquid extraction


Headspace solid-phase microextraction


Gas chromatography


Polar-enhanced polymer


Mass spectrometry


Single ion monitoring


Room temperature


Limit of detection


Limit of quantification


Porous graphitic carbon


Relative standard deviation






























Dry weight


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Alice Paris was supported by a PhD scholarship from the Basse-Normandie Region.

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Correspondence to Jérôme Ledauphin.

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Alice Paris declares that she has no conflict of interest. Jean-Luc Gaillard declares that he has no conflict of interest. Jérôme Ledauphin declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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Paris, A., Gaillard, JL. & Ledauphin, J. Rapid Extraction of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons in Apple: Ultrasound-Assisted Solvent Extraction Followed by Microextraction by Packed Sorbent. Food Anal. Methods 12, 2194–2204 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12161-019-01568-7

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  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons
  • Apple
  • Ultrasound-assisted solvent extraction
  • Microextraction by packed sorbent
  • GC-MS