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J Agric Food Chem. 2009 May 27;57(10):4224-35. doi: 10.1021/jf8037117. Epub 2009 Mar 19.

Botanical and geographical characterization of green coffee (Coffea arabica and Coffea canephora): chemometric evaluation of phenolic and methylxanthine contents.

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European Commission - Joint Research Centre, Institute for Health and Consumer Protection, Physical and Chemical Exposure Unit, Via Fermi 2, I-21020 Ispra, Italy.


Green coffee beans of the two main commercial coffee varieties, Coffea arabica (Arabica) and Coffea canephora (Robusta), from the major growing regions of America, Africa, Asia, and Oceania were studied. The contents of chlorogenic acids, cinnamoyl amides, cinnamoyl glycosides, free phenolic acids, and methylxanthines of green coffee beans were analyzed by liquid chromatography coupled with UV spectrophotometry to determine their botanical and geographical origins. The analysis of caffeic acid, 3-feruloylquinic acid, 5-feruloylquinic acid, 4-feruloylquinic acid, 3,4-dicaffeoylquinic acid, 3-caffeoyl-5-feruloylquinic acid, 3-caffeoyl-4-feruloylquinic acid, 3-p-coumaroyl-4-caffeoylquinic acid, 3-caffeoyl-4-dimethoxycinnamoylquinic acid, 3-caffeoyl-5-dimethoxycinnamoylquinic acid, p-coumaroyl-N-tryptophan, feruloyl-N-tryptophan, caffeoyl-N-tryptophan, and caffeine enabled the unequivocal botanical characterization of green coffee beans. Moreover, some free phenolic acids and cinnamate conjugates of green coffee beans showed great potential as means for the geographical characterization of coffee. Thus, p-coumaroyl-N-tyrosine, caffeoyl-N-phenylalanine, caffeoyl-N-tyrosine, 3-dimethoxycinnamoyl-5-feruloylquinic acid, and dimethoxycinnamic acid were found to be characteristic markers for Ugandan Robusta green coffee beans. Multivariate data analysis of the phenolic and methylxanthine profiles provided preliminary results that allowed showing their potential for the determination of the geographical origin of green coffees. Linear discriminant analysis (LDA) and partial least-squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) provided classification models that correctly identified all authentic Robusta green coffee beans from Cameroon and Vietnam and 94% of those from Indonesia. Moreover, PLS-DA afforded independent models for Robusta samples from these three countries with sensitivities and specificities of classifications close to 100% and for Arabica samples from America and Africa with sensitivities of 86 and 70% and specificities to the other class of 90 and 97%, respectively.

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