Furan in roasted, ground and brewed coffeeRocz Panstw Zakl Hig. 2018; 69(2):111-118.RP
Coffee is the most popular hot beverage in the world. The annual coffee production in 2010, 2014 and 2016 was 8.1, 9.0 and 9.3 million tons respectively. There are more than 100 coffee species, but only two of them: Arabica (Coffea arabica) and Robusta (Coffea canephora) have gained commercial importance. During roasting of green coffee beans not only desirable compounds are formed, that exert positive influence on the taste and flavour of coffee, but also small quantities of undesirable ones. Furan (C4H4O) is one of the latter. Furan is a volatile compound (boiling temp. of 31.4 oC) formed during thermal processing of food. The toxicity of furan has been well documented and it is classified as “possible human carcinogen” (Group 2B) by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Various pathways have been reported for furan formation during food processing. It can be formed from carbohydrates, amino acids by their thermal degradation or thermal re-arrangement and by oxidation of ascorbic acid and polyunsaturated acids and carotenoids. High concentrations of furan have been reported in coffee, baked and roasted food and in food subjected to preserving in cans and jars. Furan levels in brewed coffee are typically near or below 120 μg/L, but it can approach thousands μg/kg in roasted whole beans or ground coffee. The highest concentration of furan in roasted coffee reaches the level of 7000 μg/kg. Taking into account that coffee is the most popular hot drink, it becomes the main contributor to furan exposure from dietary sources for adults. In this article the published scientific papers concerned with the presence of furan in roasted non-brewed and brewed coffee have been reviewed. The formation mechanisms and occurrence of furan in coffee and the harmful influence of furan on the consumer health have been discussed.