Development of a methodology using gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry for the determination of the carbon isotope ratio of caffeine extracted from tea leaves (Camellia sinensis)

Authors


C. Wu, Department of Environmental Chemistry and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, 4259 Nagatsuta-cho, Midori-ku, Yokohama, Kanagawa 226–8503, Japan.

E-mail: chenwu.violet@gmail.com

Abstract

RATIONALE

Compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) of the extracted caffeine can be used to determine the authenticity of the origin of tea. Elemental analysis-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-IRMS), which is widely used to measure the carbon isotope ratio of caffeine, has a strict requirement for the purity of the extracted caffeine. To obtain high-purity caffeine from tea leaves, the conventional extraction process has to be repeated and usually takes about 5–6 h. To improve the measurement of the carbon isotope ratio of caffeine, a more rapid and accurate measuring method is needed.

METHODS

An analytical protocol was developed for the determination of the carbon isotope ratio of caffeine from tea leaves using gas chromatography-combustion-isotope ratio mass spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS) combined with our extraction process. The procedure to extract caffeine and determine its carbon isotope ratio takes around 1.5 h.

RESULTS

The standard deviation of the method is less than 0.1‰ (1σ). The measured carbon isotope ratios were not influenced by the amount of caffeine injected (0.08–0.62 µg) or by the extraction yield of caffeine from the tea leaves.

CONCLUSIONS

The carbon isotope ratios of caffeine from eight tea cultivars were determined using the protocol. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

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