Development of a chromatographic low pressure flow injection system: application to the analysis of methylxanthines in coffee

João Rodrigo Santos, António O. S. S. Rangel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


In this work, the coupling of a commercial monolithic column to a traditional low pressure FIA system is proposed for the analysis of theobromine, theophylline and caffeine in coffee brewed samples using UV detection.The parameters mobile phase composition, flow rate and loop volume were evaluated and discussed considering the various chromatographic parameters in order to enable resolution of the methylxanthines studied within the coffee brewed sample matrix. The analyses of methylxanthines in coffee brewed samples by the proposed methodology were in good agreement with those obtained by the reference procedure based on HPLC. Relative errors were below 6% for all samples analyzed. Detection limits in the selected experimental conditions were within 10-6M range for theobromine and theophylline, and 10-5M for caffeine. The determination rate of the three methylxanthines for coffee brewed samples was ca of 10h-1.The main advantage of the proposed flow system was the possibility to perform chromatographic separations in low pressure flow systems. This substantial improvement was achieved due to the compatibility of monolithic columns within the flow injection system surpassing in this way one of the main handicaps of traditional flow analysis systems. Additional features of the strategy presented were low cost, efficiency, high versatility and low reagent consumption comparing to HPLC methodologies usually followed in the case study herein presented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Publication statusPublished - 17 Feb 2012


  • Coffee
  • Flow injection
  • Low pressure chromatography
  • Methylxanthines
  • UV spectrophotometry


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