Determination of Caffeine, Myosmine, and Nicotine in Chocolate by Headspace Solid-Phase Microextraction Coupled with Gas Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry



The occurrence of the bioactive components caffeine (xanthine alkaloid), myosmine and nicotine (pyridine alkaloids) in different edibles and plants is well known, but the content of myosmine and nicotine is still ambiguous in milk/dark chocolate. Therefore, a sensitive method for determination of these components was established, a simple separation of the dissolved analytes from the matrix, followed by headspace solid-phase microextraction coupled with gas chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS/MS). This is the first approach for simultaneous determination of caffeine, myosmine, and nicotine with a convenient SPME technique. Calibration curves were linear for the xanthine alkaloid (250 to 3000 mg/kg) and the pyridine alkaloids (0.000125 to 0.003000 mg/kg). Residuals of the calibration curves were lower than 15%, hence the limits of detection were set as the lowest points of the calibration curves. The limits of detection calculated from linearity data were for caffeine 216 mg/kg, for myosmine 0.000110 mg/kg, and for nicotine 0.000120 mg/kg. Thirty samples of 5 chocolate brands with varying cocoa contents (30% to 99%) were analyzed in triplicate. Caffeine and nicotine were detected in all samples of chocolate, whereas myosmine was not present in any sample. The caffeine content ranged from 420 to 2780 mg/kg (relative standard deviation 0.1 to 11.5%) and nicotine from 0.000230 to 0.001590 mg/kg (RSD 2.0 to 22.1%).

Practical Application

We worked out a method for simultaneous determination of the alkaloids caffeine, myosmine and nicotine in the complex matrix chocolate using modern sample preparation and chromatographic techniques. This method allows the determination of the bioactive compounds in spite of the strongly different ranges for caffeine (420 to 2780 mg/kg) and for myosmine (below limit of detection) and nicotine (0.000230 to 0.001590 mg/kg). The content of caffeine and of the hitherto undetected nicotine correlated with the content of cocoa (30 to 99%) in the chocolate brands.