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J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Oct 13;58(19):10568-75. doi: 10.1021/jf102112p.

Quantification of flavoring constituents in cinnamon: high variation of coumarin in cassia bark from the German retail market and in authentic samples from indonesia.

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Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Thielallee 88-92, 14195 Berlin, Germany.


Coumarin is a flavoring which can cause hepatotoxicity in experimental animals and in a proportion of the human population. The tolerable daily intake (TDI) may be exceeded in consumers with high intake of cinnamon containing high levels of coumarin. The objective of this study was to determine these levels in cinnamon samples and to identify possible factors influencing them. A HPLC method to quantify coumarin and related constituents (cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, cinnamyl alcohol, eugenol) in a single run was used. Results found in 47 cinnamon powder samples obtained from the German retail market confirmed high levels of coumarin in cassia cinnamon. A huge variation was observed in stick samples from two packages (range from below the limit of detection to about 10000 mg/kg). Cassia bark samples of five trees received directly from Indonesia were analyzed additionally. Interestingly, a high variation was observed in one of the trees, whereas no coumarin was detected in the samples of two other trees. In conclusion, coumarin levels in cassia cinnamon can vary widely even within a single tree.

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