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Update Jan 1, 2014: mg/l unit added  


Introduction

Biohit has carried out new measurements of acetaldehyde concentrations in beer and yoghurts. Acetaldehyde is a substance with apple flavor that is especially rich in food prepared with a fermentation process such as alcohol beverages, vinegar and dairy products. Research agency IARC has classified acetaldehyde as a Group I human carcinogen in 2009.

Materials and Methods

Biohit analyzed the acetaldehyde concentration in 40 different beer brands and 13 different commercial yoghurt products. Sample products were randomly selected in different grocery and liquor stores in the capital area of Finland. The samples were selected randomly from different stores. For beers, a single bottle from each brand was included in analysis, whereas from each yoghurt brand, two goblets were analyzed.
The analysis performed using gas-chromatography method that has been validated by Biohit (see below “Measurements”).

Results

According the measurements, in beers the measured concentrations ranged from 16 to 261 µM (0,7-261 mg/l). Altogether 22 (55%) of the 41 beers had concentrations below the mutagenic level 100 µM (4,4 mg/l) of acetaldehyde. The remaining 18 (45%) beers had concentrations ≥ 108 µM ( ≥ 4,8 mg/l).
In yoghurts, the acetaldehyde concentration ranged from 14 to 394 µM (0,6-17,3 mg/l). In only one yoghurt out of 13 (8%), the acetaldehyde concentration was below the carcinogenic level 100 µM (4,4 mg/l), whereas in all other (12 out of 13, 92%) the concentrations were equal or higher than 205 µM (≥ 9 mg/l).

Table 1. Acetaldehyde concentrations in the yoghurts and beers analyzed by a gas chromatography.
 

 

No. of analyzed products

Lowest observed acetaldehyde concentration µM (mg/l)

Highest observed acetaldehyde concentration µM (mg/l)

Beer

40

16 (0,7)

261 (11,5)

Yoghurt

13

14 (0,6)

394 (17,3)


Conclusions

The analysis was undertaken to tentatively investigate the acetaldehyde concentrations in yoghurts and beers. The brands were selected randomly in various grocery stores, and included both domestic and foreign brands.
It was found that acetaldehyde concentration in yoghurts was on average 270 µM, and only one yoghurt (8%) brand had a lower concentration than that regarded as safe (100 µM). Although yoghurts have been an integral part of human nutrition for centuries, these findings clearly advocate further research on these products. 
Remarkably, the acetaldehyde concentrations in yoghurts were, on average, three times higher than in beers. In beers 63% of the brands concentrations were below the mutagenic level (100 µM). Also, the highest acetaldehyde concentration in beers (208 µM) was found in two-thirds of the highest concentration that was observed for yoghurts  (394 µM).

CEO Semi Korpela, Biohit Oyj: “The most important thing is the knowledge that it is possible to reduce the exposure to acetaldehyde. This could be a new opportunity for the food industry.  Biofood method invented by Biohit Oyj is could reduce the acetaldehyde concentration in foods remarkably and in this way reduce food stuff mediated exposure to acetaldehyde.” 

Measurements

Methods and Equipment:
Head-space gaschromatography adopted from Pikkarainen et al. (1979) and Jokelainen et al. (1994), as well as NIOSH ((National Institute of Occupational Health and Safety) (1994) methods.
Clarus 500 Gaschromatoraph, BAC-2 capillary column, TurboMatrix HS-110 sampler (PerkinElmer Finland, Turku).

Calibrators and Controls:
Acetaldehyde, CAS 75-07-0 (Supelco, Bellefonte, PA, USA, cat# 506788), purity 99,9%. The samples were prepared by weighing.
 
Method Validation:
According to Biohit’s quality system (ISO 9001:2008, ISO13485:2003).
The validation was performed, when applicable, according to following standards and directives (the method is not accreditated):
Guidance for Industry. Q2B Validation of Analytical Procedures: Methodology. ICH November 1996.
2002/657/EC Commission Decision of 12 August 2002, implementing Council Directive 96/23/EC concerning the performance of analytical methods and the interpretation of results (Text with EEA relevance).


References:

Jokelainen K, Roine RP, Väänänen H, Färkkilä M, Salaspuro M. In vitro acetaldehyde formation by human colonic bacteria. Gut 1994; 35: 1271-4.
NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM), Fourth Edition. ALDEHYDES, SCREENING: METHOD 2539, Issue 2, dated 15 August 1994 - 10 pages.
Pikkarainen PH, Salaspuro MP, Lieber CS.A method for the determination of "free" acetaldehyde in plasma. Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 1979 Jul;3(3):259-61.
 

Read more: Specify the acetaldehyde concentrate in foodstuff with Biohit laboratory
 

 

Acetaldehyde Group I human carcinogen

In October 2009, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), which forms part of the World Health Organization, classified acetaldehyde included in and generated endogenously from alcoholic beverages as a Group I human carcinogen. Acetaldehyde belongs to the same risk class as, for example, asbestos and tobacco.
Specific microbes (bacteria and yeasts) in the gastrointestinal tract are the most important source of acetaldehyde exposure to the human body. These microbes produce acetaldehyde from alcohol and, in certain circumstances, from sugar. Unlike the liver, the microbes and the intestinal mucosa cannot remove the acetaldehyde, and due to the effect of alcohol, an abundance of acetaldehyde accumulates in the saliva and elsewhere in the gastrointestinal tract. Acetaldehyde is a substance that accumulates in the body from several sources, continuous exposure to it thereby severely increasing the risk of cancer to various organs.

Source: IARC, Secretan et al (2009)

Read more: Research information on Acetium



Update June 13, 2013: Beer measurements