Characterization of particulate-phase polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons emitted from incense burning and their bioreactivity in RAW264.7 macrophage

Tzu Ting Yang, Su Chen Ho, Lu Te Chuang, Hsiao Chi Chuang, Ya Ting Li, Jyun Jie Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


This study investigated the effects of particle-bound polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) produced from burning three incense types on and their bioreactivity in the RAW 264.7 murine macrophage cell line. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry was used to determine the levels of 16 identified PAHs. Macrophages were exposed to incense particle extracts at concentrations of 0, 3.125, 6.25, 12.5, 25, 50, and 100 μg/mL for 24 h. After exposure, cell viability and nitric oxide (NO) and inflammatory mediator [tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α] production of the cells were examined. The mean atomic hydrogen (H) to carbon (C) ratios in the environmentally friendly, binchotan charcoal, and lao shan incenses were 0.69, 1.13, and 1.71, respectively. PAH and total toxic equivalent (TEQ) mass fraction in the incenses ranged from 137.84 to 231.00 and 6.73–26.30 pg/μg, respectively. The exposure of RAW 264.7 macrophages to incense particles significantly increased TNF-α and NO production and reduced cell viability. The cells treated with particles collected from smoldering the environmentally friendly incense produced more NO and TNF-α compared to other incenses. Additionally, the TEQ of fluoranthene (FL), pyrene (Pyr), benzo[a]anthracene (BaA), chrysene (Chr), benzo[b]fluoranthene (BbF), benzo[k]fluoranthene (BkF), benzo[a]pyrene (BaP), indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene (INP), dibenz[a,h]anthracene (DBA), and benzo[g,h,i]perylene [B(ghi)P] had a significant correlation (R2 = 0.64–0.98, P < 0.05) with NO and TNF-α production. The current findings indicate that incense particle-bound PAHs are biologically active and that burning an incense with a lower H/C ratio caused higher bioreactivity. The stimulatory effect of PAH-containing particles on molecular mechanisms of inflammation are critical for future study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1190-1198
Number of pages9
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Cell viability
  • Incense
  • NO
  • RAW 264.7 macrophage
  • TNF-α

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of particulate-phase polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons emitted from incense burning and their bioreactivity in RAW264.7 macrophage'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this