Counting the caffeine

By 1. August 2014Blog, Health, Risk Management

For many it’s an almost necessary start to the day in the form of coffee, for others it’s pill form keeps them going during study times, for others, it’s something in that winged drink they mix with their vodka. Whichever way you like to take it, chances are you consume caffeine.

But did you know that excess caffeine can cause death? You have to take a lot or have an underlying health condition but it does happen, and with so many products containing it now some people are getting worried about how much they consume.

Well soon they will have a kit they can use at home to rapidly detect caffeine in food and drink. Described in a paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the test is based on an enzyme called caffeine dehydrogenase that oxidises caffeine to trimethyluric acid and at the same time converts a colourless salt into its reduced coloured state.

The kit is in development at present and the authors envisage the end product as a dip stick or strip of paper that changes colour akin to pH paper.

The paper is available from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry website.