Food additives & contaminants. Part A, Chemistry, analysis, control, exposure & risk assessment

Effect of ionising radiation treatment on the specific migration characteristics of packaging-food simulant combinations: effect of type and dose of radiation.

PMID 21400321


Migration levels of acetyl tributyl citrate (ATBC) plasticiser from polyvinyl chloride (PVC) film into the European Union specified aqueous food simulants (distilled water, 3% w/v acetic acid and 10% v/v ethanol) were monitored as a function of time. Migration testing was carried out at 40°C for 10 days. Determination of the analyte was performed by applying an analytical methodology based on surfactant (Triton X-114) mediated extraction prior to gas chromatographic-flame ionisation detection. PVC cling film used was subjected to ionising treatment with a [(60)Co] source, as well as to electron-beam irradiation at doses equal to 5, 15 and 25 kGy, with the aim to compare the effect of type and dose of radiation on the specific migration behaviour of PVC. Equilibrium concentrations of acetyl tributyl citrate into the aqueous solvents covered the ranges 173-422 µg l(-1) and 296-513 µg l(-1) for gamma- and electron-irradiated PVC, respectively. Hence, e-beam irradiation resulted in significantly higher ATBC migration compared with gamma treatment. The highest extraction efficiency of the 10% ethanol solution was common in both gamma and e-beam treatments; distilled water demonstrated the lowest migration. Gamma-irradiation at intermediate doses up to 5 kGy produced no statistically significant (p > 0.05) effect on ATBC migration into all three aqueous simulants; however, this does not apply for high-energy electrons. Both ionising treatments were similar in that they resulted in statistically significant (p < 0.05) differences in plasticiser migrating amounts between non-irradiated and irradiated at doses of 15 and 25 kGy samples. Gamma-radiation did not affect the kinetics of plasticiser migration. On the contrary, electron-beam radiation produced shorter equilibration times for all food-simulating solvents tested at 40°C. The above values regarding ATBC migration into aqueous food simulants are far below the European Union restriction (1 mg kg(-1) body weight) for both types of ionising radiation. Thus, PVC cling film may be used in food irradiation applications in contact with aqueous foodstuffs.