Transfer of phenanthrene and its hydroxylated metabolites to milk, urine and faeces

N. Grova, C. Feidt, F. Monteau, B. Le Bizec, G. Rychen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Single oral ingestion of phenanthrene was administered in lactating goats with the aim of characterizing its behavior and its biotransformation in milk and other excretion products. Detection and identification of the analytes (phenanthrene, 1-, 2-, 3-, 4-, 9-hydroxyphenanthrene and 9,10- dihydroxyphenanthrene) were achieved using GC-MS procedure. The blood kinetics revealed the presence of phenanthrene and its hydroxylated forms quite soon (3-7 h) after the oral administration. The high concentration of metabolites in blood (3-300 ng/mL) suggests a very fast biotransformation process of phenanthrene. A direct link between the lipophily and the presence of the molecule in milk or urine was established. Indeed, 94% and 99.6% of the excreted phenanthrene were recovered under metabolite forms in milk and urine respectively. The non-metabolized phenanthrene was principally found in faeces. The more the solubility increased, the more the compound was transferred through milk and urine; as a consequence, the 9,10-diOHphenanthrene appeared mainly in urine whereas phenanthrene was practically not detectable. These results provide original information on the ability of the dairy ruminant to metabolize and to transfer phenanthrene. The extremely low rate transfer of phenanthrene and its metabolites to the milk (0.25%) should not, therefore, be considered as a major health concern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-111
Number of pages14
JournalPolycyclic Aromatic Compounds
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Metabolite
  • Milk
  • Phenanthrene
  • Ruminant


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