Determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in roasted coffee

J Environ Sci Health B. 2014;49(11):828-35. doi: 10.1080/03601234.2014.938552.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are suspected to be carcinogenic and mutagenic. This study describes the presence of PAHs in light, medium and dark roasted coffee including instant and decaffeinated brands. Total PAHs concentration was related to the degree of roasting with light roasted coffee showing the least and dark roasted coffee showing the highest level. Both instant and decaffeinated coffee brand showed lower levels of PAHs. Naphthalene, acenaphthylene, pyrene and chrysene were the most abundant individual isomers. The concentrations ranged from 0 to 561 ng g(-1) for naphthalene, 0 to 512 ng g(-1) for acenaphthylene, 60 to 459 ng g(-1) for pyrene and 56 to 371 ng g(-1) for chrysene. Thus, roasting conditions should be controlled to avoid the formation of PAHs due to their suspected carcinogenic and mutagenic properties.

Keywords: HPLC; PAH; carcinogens; coffee; food contaminants; roasting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Coffee / chemistry*
  • Cooking*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis*
  • Mutagens / analysis*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons / analysis*


  • Coffee
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Mutagens
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons