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Doctoral thesis, 2023

In vitro bioassays: monitoring of bioactive chemical pollutants in food and food contact materials

Selin, Erica


We are continuously exposed to mixtures of known and unknown chemicals via our diet. The standard control program for food safety, at present, relies heavily on the chemical quantification of a limited number of chemicals with known toxic properties. However, this approach is challenged, as it is impossible to monitor the tens of thousands of chemicals that are produced and spread into the environment. There is hence a need to develop new strategies to understand the potentially hazardous effects of chemical contaminants in food and how these may affect human health.  

This thesis consequently focused on developing and applying effect-based in vitro bioassays, which allows testing to be done in a high-throughput manner, where effects from known, unknown as well as mixtures of chemicals are taken into con-sideration. We specifically focused on potential toxic effects that can arise from food packages, liquid smoke flavourings and milk. We found that numerous food pack-aging extracts induced oxidative stress, genotoxicity, and endocrine disruption activities, while no inflammatory response was induced. Liquid smoke flavourings also revealed oxidative stress and genotoxic effects. On the other hand, several of the milk sample extracts showed aryl hydrocarbon receptor- and endocrine disrup-tive effects, in the form of antagonistic responses on the estrogen- and androgen receptors. In conclusion, in vitro bioassays were highly valuable, as they could detect the effects of complex chemical mixtures that exist within these products. The studies within this thesis show the broad applications of in vitro bioassays and that these can be used as an initial screening tool for chemical hazard assessment of food and food packages.


Effect-based methods; bioanalytical tools; in vitro methods; food packages; paper; cardboard; milk; dairy product; smoke flavouring; food additives

Published in

Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
2023, number: 2023:69
ISBN: 978-91-8046-190-0, eISBN: 978-91-8046-191-7
Publisher: Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Pharmacology and Toxicology

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