Determination of pyridine and furfuryl alcohol in breath after coffee consumption

  • Adrian Vicent Claramunt
  • Audrius Sadaunykas
  • Birutė Knašienė
  • Evaldas Naujalis
Keywords: coffee, breath, food, toxins, chromatography


We aimed to demonstrate that breath analysis can be used as a method for the detection of potentially harmful compounds in food after their ingestion. Development of such a method could be adapted as a tool for detection of food intoxication. To achieve this, we compared the levels of pyridine (Py) and furfuryl alcohol (FFA) found in breath with the quantity of these compounds ingested when drinking coffee. Coffee drink beverages were prepared in the laboratory and consumed by volunteers (n = 5). An aliquot of coffee was analysed using high performance liquid chromatography with diode-array detection (HPLC-DAD) to quantify Py and FFA in the beverage. Breath samples were collected several times over a 45 min period after ingestion of coffee and analysed by thermal desorption coupled to gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (TD/GC-MS). The levels of Py and FFA found in coffee ranged from 0.2 to 3 mg/cup of coffee, and from 7 to 30 mg/cup of coffee, respectively. The levels of these compounds detected in breath ranged from 7 to 1200 ng/l breath for Py and from 1 to 760 ng/l breath for FFA. Several parameters can influence the levels of these chemicals in breath, especially the collection time of the breath sample.

Analytical Chemistry