A team of scientists in Portugal and Spain have performed high performance liquid chromatography coupled with fluorescence detection (HPLC–FLD) to show that marinating pork meat in beer can reduce the levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) formed when grilled over charcoal. The study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests a potential reduction in PAH levels of up to 50% compared with non-marinated meat.1
PAHs are found in a wide range of food products, particularly foods that have been smoked or chargrilled, and frequent consumption of these foods can pose a health risk. Lead author of the study Isabel Ferreira told The Column: “It is well known that the frequent consumption of charcoal grilled meat is associated with the increase of [an] individual’s chances of developing colorectal cancer. This relationship results from the presence of carcinogenic compounds such as PAHs and heterocyclic aromatic amines (HAAs). Thus, mitigation strategies to reduce the formation of those compounds during charcoal grilling are welcome.”
The team had previously investigated the effects of antioxidant containing drinks on the formation of HAAs, such as wine and green tea, but this is the f rst study to look at the effects of beer marinades on the activity of PAHs. Ferreira said: “Since free radicals are well known to be readily mopped up by antioxidants, several studies performed in recent years by our group explored the possibility of applying antioxidant-containing beverages, like tea, wine, and beer, to meat before grilling to reduce the formation of carcinogenic compounds, firstly the HAAs, and more recently PAHs. In this context we decided to explore the use of different types of beer.”
Pork meat was marinated in Pilsner beer, nonalcoholic Pilsner beer, or Black beer for four h at 5 ºC at a 1:1 (g/mL) ratio with no other ingredients. The prepared meat was then grilled over charcoal. Samples were taken and extracted for analysis. HPLC–FLD was performed to determine levels of PAHs remaining in each of the cooked samples.
The unmarinated pork meat samples contained an average of 20.57 ng PAHs per g of grilled meat, which dropped to 9.74 ng per gram after marination in Black beer, according to Ferreira. She said: “The reduction of carcinogenic compounds is higher than 50%. Thus, it is possible to obtain a healthier cooked food with improved sensory characteristics because beer marinades are tasty and improve meat tenderness.” — B.D.
1. I.M.P.L.V.O Ferreira et al., J. Agric. Food. Chem. 62, 2638–2643