Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a class of harmful and persistent organic contaminant, are widely distributed in the environment and eventually accumulated in water and food. Also, they are formed in different varieties and varying amounts during processing of food depending on the food composition, cooking method and processing condition. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), various PAHs are classified under Group 1 to 3 category, with Group 1 designated as carcinogenic to humans, Group 2A as probable carcinogen, Group 2B as possible carcinogen and Group 3 as noncarcinogenic. Therefore, it is imperative to develop rapid and highly sensitive analytical methods for determination of PAHs in food and water. This article aims to overview the recent advances of various chromatographic methods as well as electrochemical and SERS-based optical sensing methods for analysis of PAHs in food and water. Initially, several conventional sample preparation methods along with the advanced extraction for isolation of PAHs were summarized, followed by reviewing various gas chromatographic methods coupled with various detection techniques for PAHs analysis in various food products including meat/meat products, seafood, oil, milk/milk products, baby foods, honey, vegetable, cocoa products, tea/coffee, juice, rice, flour, noodle and cake. In addition, high performance liquid chromatographic methods coupled with fluorescence, diode array or mass/tandem mass detection techniques as well as an emerging supercritical fluid chromatographic technique employed for determination of PAHs in different food and water matrices were also overviewed. Finally, various electrochemical sensors and SERS-based optical sensors developed recently for onsite detection of PAHs were tabulated and discussed. Thus, this review article can provide a research update on chromatography and sensor-based analytical methods for PAH analysis as well as enable elucidation of research gaps for future studies.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.