Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons: pollution and source analysis of a black tea

J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Dec 29;52(26):8268-71. doi: 10.1021/jf048636n.


Investigations into the manufacturing process of one kind of black tea revealed that it included five steps: withering, rolling, fermentation, drying, and drying and sorting. A total of 16 polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) were simultaneously measured in fresh leaves, withered leaves, rolled leaves, fermented leaves, crude black tea, and black tea sampled after each manufacturing stage and in the indoor and outdoor air of the drying house. It was observed that the total contents of the 16 PAHs (SigmaPAHs) in the crude black tea and the black tea were obviously higher than those in the tea leaves sampled after each manufacturing step before the drying stage; the air SigmaPAHs in the drying house were about 100 times higher than those outside the drying house. It can be concluded that quantities of PAHs were released into the drying house from the combustion of pine firewood during the drying stage, and then were absorbed by the tea leaves, thus resulting in the high PAH contents in the black tea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Camellia sinensis / chemistry
  • Desiccation
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Food Handling / methods*
  • Pinus
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis*
  • Tea / chemistry*
  • Wood


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Tea