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Dioxins - Persistent Environmental Contaminants

In Focus Again and Again
Dioxins are ubiquitous in the environment. These compounds are produced by incomplete combustion processes or as a by-product in the manufacture of chlorinated organic compounds (e.g. pesticides) and are released into the environment. Since they are stable at temperatures up to 900 °C and very lipophilic they accumulate in liver and fat tissue of animals for consumption and thus are released into the human food chain. Particularly high contaminations can be determined in fish and eggs.

Dioxins are a group of chemically similar chlorinated compounds including 75 polychlori­nated dibenzo-para-dioxins (PCDD) and 135 polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDF). The 2,3,7,8-substitued congeners – 7 dioxins and 10 furans – are particularly toxic and are considered for the assessment of toxicity. Since the mechanisms of toxic effects are not known yet contamination of food and feeding stuff should be avoided as far as possible.

Dioxin-like PCB
Some polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) display a structure and toxicological property similar to that of dioxins. They are therefore called dioxin-like PCB.

Extraction of food samples for dioxin analysis was very intricate so far and therefore time-consuming and expensive. In 2009 at the RAFA symposium in Prague we have presented a new dioxin method which is quick, rugged, safe and therefore cheap (extraction using QuEChERS). Find out about our new technology and check your raw material and feeding stuff for contamination with dioxins.


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