Skip to main content

Effect of charcoal grilling on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): content, composition, and health risk in edible fish in Japan


The content and composition of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) induced by charcoal grilling of fish were determined in this study. Using HPLC–DAD, the simultaneously quantitative method for 16 priority PAHs was developed and applied to three common Japanese fish: mackerel, pacific saury, and sardine. Charcoal grilling largely increased the content of both total and representative PAHs. Moreover, all of the three fish showed a similar PAH composition under the effect of charcoal grilling: in raw samples, naphthalene was observed as the dominant PAH, while in charcoal-grilled samples, phenanthrene, fluoranthene, and pyrene served as the major PAHs. Furthermore, a health risk assessment showed that charcoal grilling resulted in high levels of the toxic equivalence quotients, the daily dietary intake exposure to PAHs, and the incremental lifetime cancer risk in three fish, which outclassed the raw samples and exceeded the recommended limitations. The results suggested that charcoal grilling-induced accumulation of PAHs and their potential health risk on human health should be of great concern, which might contribute to the dietary guidance and risk management of food-contained PAHs.

Graphical abstract

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  1. S. Danyi, F. Brose, C. Brasseur, Y.-J. Schneider, Y. Larondelle, L. Pussemier, J. Robbens, S. De Saeger, G. Maghuin-Rogister, M.-L. Scippo, Anal. Chim. Acta 633, 293 (2009)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  2. S.K. Samanta, O.V. Singh, R.K. Jain, Trends Biotechnol. 20, 243 (2002)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. G. Falcó, J.L. Domingo, J.M. Llobet, A. Teixidó, C. Casas, L. Müller, J. Food Prot. 66, 2325 (2003)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. E.H. Pfeiffer, IARC Int. Agency Res. Cancer Sci. Publ. 16, 69 (1977)

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  5. C. Barata, A. Calbet, E. Saiz, L. Ortiz, J.M. Bayona, Environ. Toxicol. Chem. 24, 2992 (2005)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Proposed guidelines for carcinogen risk assessment (Washington, DC, 1996)

  7. EFSA, EFSA J. 6, 724 (2008)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. X. Duan, G. Shen, H. Yang, J. Tian, F. Wei, J. Gong, J. Zhang, Chemosphere 144, 2469 (2016)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  9. K. Dost, C. İdeli, Food Chem. 133, 193 (2012)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. G. Purcaro, P. Morrison, S. Moret, L.S. Conte, P.J. Marriott, J. Chromatogr. A 1161, 284 (2007)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. J.A.M. Mahugija, E. Njale, J. Food Compos. Anal. 73, 39 (2018)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  12. S. Wretling, A. Eriksson, G.A. Eskhult, B. Larsson, J. Food Compos. Anal. 23, 264 (2010)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  13. C.M.A. Iwegbue, K.O. Osijaye, U.A. Igbuku, F.E. Egobueze, G.O. Tesi, F.I. Bassey, B.S. Martincigh, J. Food Compos. Anal. 94, 103633 (2020)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. J. Cheng, X. Zhang, Y. Ma, J. Zhao, Z. Tang, Sci. Total Environ. 690, 965 (2019)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  15. A. Farhadian, S. Jinap, F. Abas, Z.I. Sakar, Food Control 21, 606 (2010)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Y. Ikenaka, Y. Ito, H. Eun, E. Watanabe, Y. Miyabara, J. Environ. Chem. 18, 341 (2008)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. The European Parliament And The Council of The European Union, Off. J. Eur. Union, L 215/4 (2011)

  18. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Integrated Risk Information System (2011)

  19. I. Tongo, O. Ogbeide, L. Ezemonye, Toxicol. Rep. 4, 55 (2017)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  20. United States Environmental Protection Agency, Provisional Guidance for quantitative risk assessment of PAH.pdf (1993)

  21. FAO, Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profiles Japan (2019)

  22. I. Grzetic, A. Ghariani, J. Serbian Chem. Soc. 73, 923 (2008)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  23. United States Environmental Protection Agency, United States Environ. Prot. Agency, vol. 1, p. 823 (Washington, DC, 2000)

  24. W.S. Darwish, H. Chiba, W.R. El-Ghareeb, A.E. Elhelaly, S.-P. Hui, Food Chem. 290, 114 (2019)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  25. G.M. Titato, F.M. Lancas, J. Chromatogr. Sci. 44, 35 (2006)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  26. M. Masuda, Q. Wang, M. Tokumura, Y. Miyake, T. Amagai, Ecotoxicol. Environ. Saf. 178, 188 (2019)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  27. O. Acaye, W.N. George, M. Jolocam, K. Justus, M. Margaret, Afr. J. Pure Appl. Chem. 7, 164 (2013)

    Article  Google Scholar 

  28. V.O.E. Akpambang, G. Purcaro, L. Lajide, I.A. Amoo, L.S. Conte, S. Moret, Food Addit. Contam. Part A 26, 1096 (2009)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  29. A. Farhadian, S. Jinap, H.N. Hanifah, I.S. Zaidul, Food Chem. 124, 141 (2011)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  30. S.Y. Chung, R.R. Yettella, J.S. Kim, K. Kwon, M.C. Kim, D.B. Min, Food Chem. 129, 1420 (2011)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  31. M. Reinik, T. Tamme, M. Roasto, K. Juhkam, T. Tenno, A. Kiis, Food Addit. Contam. 24, 429 (2007)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  32. B.H. Chen, Y.C. Chen, J. Agric. Food Chem. 49, 5238 (2001)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  33. H. Taira, Nippon Shokuhin Kagaku Kogaku Kaishi 48, 549 (2001)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  34. B.K. Larsson, G.P. Sahlberg, A.T. Eriksson, L.A. Busk, J. Agric. Food Chem. 31, 867 (1983)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  35. T.H. Kao, S. Chen, C.W. Huang, C.J. Chen, B.H. Chen, Food Chem. Toxicol. 71, 149 (2014)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  36. D.K. Essumang, D.K. Dodoo, J.K. Adjei, Food Control 35, 85 (2014)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  37. A. Mohammadi, V. Ghasemzadeh-Mohammadi, P. Haratian, R. Khaksar, M. Chaichi, Food Chem. 141, 2459 (2013)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  38. W. Lijinsky, P. Shubik, Science 145, 53 (1964)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  39. H. Alomirah, S. Al-Zenki, S. Al-Hooti, S. Zaghloul, W. Sawaya, N. Ahmed, K. Kannan, Food Control 2011, 22 (2028)

    Google Scholar 

  40. G. Li, S. Wu, L. Wang, C.C. Akoh, Food Control 59, 328 (2016)

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


This study was supported by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Sciences and Technology, Japan.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Shu-Ping Hui.

Additional information

Advanced Publication Released Online by J-STAGE August 20, 2021.

Supplementary Information

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary file1 (PDF 357 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Gao, Z., Chen, Z. & Hui, SP. Effect of charcoal grilling on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): content, composition, and health risk in edible fish in Japan. ANAL. SCI. 38, 515–523 (2022).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Charcoal grilling
  • Health risk
  • Fish
  • Food composition