Best spectroscopic technique for coffee typing

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  • Published: Feb 18, 2014
  • Author: Steve Down
  • Channels: X-ray Spectrometry / MRI Spectroscopy / Base Peak / Infrared Spectroscopy / Atomic / Raman / NMR Knowledge Base / Proteomics / UV/Vis Spectroscopy / Chemometrics & Informatics

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Principal components analysis (PCA) is often used in metabolomics and phytochemical studies to help interpret the large data sets that are produced by the various analytical techniques but the success of the analysis depends upon the quality of the original data. The complex nature of food makes it more difficult to get good data sets but several different spectroscopic techniques have been applied with varying levels of success in food studies.

Now, a team of scientists from Jacobs University Bremen has compared the usefulness of four techniques commonly used in food analysis. They applied IR and NMR spectroscopy, CD and LC/MS to see which ones could distinguish between Arabica and Robusta green coffee beans, as reported in Analytical Methods. The data derived from the analysis of methanolic coffee extracts were processed by PCA with contrasting results.

Both LC/MS with electrospray ionisation in negative-ion mode and IR spectroscopy clearly identified the two varieties in the PCA plots. However, CD and NMR spectroscopy both failed completely. The difference was attributed to the ability of the methods to detect chlorogenic acids, the principal coffee compounds in the extracts.

The contrasting performances offer a good illustration of the care needed in selecting the analytical technique. As the researchers put it "One size does not fit all."

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