At the fifth international conference for coffee, cocoa and tea, industry and research met for a three-day technical exchange. QSI was represented at the event by Arne Dübecke and Annika Hoffmann.
On the first day Arne Dübecke gave a presentation on pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA) in tea and herbs. He explained which challenges have to be overcome in the routine.
In 2013, the occurrence of PA in tea was reported by the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). PA are undesirable in food due to their potential carcinogenic effect. Therefore, they have been the focus of various consumer magazines as well as national and international authorities for several years.
The challenge for laboratories consists in the huge number of structurally closely related PAs. Overlapping with other PAs may happen which complicates quantification. Reference material is expensive and availability is variable.
Annika Hoffmann showed the audience a simplified method for the detection of the substance 16-O-Methylcafestol by NMR. The substance 16-O-Methylcafestol makes it possible to detect the addition of Robusta coffee to a coffee labelled “100 % Arabica”. The detection is carried out according to DIN 10779 by HPLC. This analysis was very time-consuming due to the extensive sample preparation (fat extraction, saponification and separation of the unsaponifiable components) which takes about 3 working days. NMR offers the opportunity to simplify sample preparation. This reduced the processing time to a few hours, allowing express analyses to be carried out within 24 hours even in very urgent cases.
We would like to thank all participants of Cocotea 2019 for the technical exchange.