Researchers tested enzyme caffeine dehydrogenase detect caffeine in variety drinks

New test to detect potentially dangerous caffeine levels in beverages

10:32 AM, 31st July 2014
Researchers tested enzyme caffeine dehydrogenase can detect caffeine in a variety of drinks
Measuring caffeine in drinks with a home test could help prevent serious side effects.

WASHINGTON DC, US: If you feel your daily beverages as coffee, tea or soda contains caffeine in spite of the decaffeinated label, then you can check the caffeine level with a simple home test. To help prevent serious health problems that can arise from consuming too much caffeine, scientists are reporting progress toward a rapid, at-home test to detect even low levels of the stimulant in most beverages and even breast milk. Their report appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Researchers Mani Subramanian and colleagues noted that caffeine’s popularity as a “pick-me-up” has led to it being added to more than 570 beverages and 150 food products, including gums and jelly beans. It also comes in a pure powder form that consumers can use themselves to spike drinks and food. In small amounts, most people can handle caffeine without a problem. But excessive doses can lead to serious health problems, including insomnia, hallucinations, vitamin deficiency, several types of cancer and in rare cases, death. Subramanian’s team wanted to develop a quick and easy way for consumers to determine whether the caffeine levels in their foods and drinks fall within a safe range.

They tested an enzyme called caffeine dehydrogenase and found that it could detect caffeine in a variety of drinks - with the exception of teas - within one minute. Also, it was sensitive enough to pick up on caffeine’s presence at concentrations as low as one to five parts per million, the maximum limit the Food and Drug Administration advises for nursing mothers. They said that their method could be integrated into a dip-stick type of test, like over-the-counter pregnancy tests, that could be used at home.

 

© American Chemical Society News

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