Science of The Total Environment
Volumes 470–471, 1 February 2014, Pages 917–924
Fish oils are one of the main sources of health promoting nutrients such as n − 3 fatty acids in animal and human diet. Nevertheless, they could be an important source of persistent organic pollutants (POPs). Different strategies of decontamination processes to reduce polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) levels in fish oils, such as solvent extraction (ethanol) and adsorbent extraction using commercially available (activated carbon) and sustainable adsorbents (mussel shell and wood ashes), were compared. Adsorption conditions were evaluated and optimized by an experimental design and the experimental results were adjusted to response surfaces. In this way, PAH removals increased with increasing of individual PAH molecular weight and they range from 80% to 100% using activated carbon and from 10% to 100% using wood ashes. Pine wood ashes showed similar removal rates to activated carbon (87%–100%) excluding F (51%) and P (42%). No PAH removal was observed using mussel shell ashes. Ethanol extraction was also optimized and showed a good performance in the extraction of PAHs. However, it does affect their ω − 3 fatty acid contents. Finally, real oil samples from different fishing areas: Spain, South America, and North Europe were selected for the decontamination experiments under experimental conditions previously optimized.