Title: Bioactivity of coffee substitute

Renata Zawirska-Wojtasiak

Poznan University of Life Science, Poland


Food technologist, biochemist.

Graduated as M.Sc., PhD, D.Sc. and professor at Poznań University of Life Sciences, Faculty of Food Science and Nutrition.

Teacher and researcher, from 2009 associated professor on Poznań University of Life Sciences. 

Main scientific interests: food chemistry, food aroma,  enantiomers -  aroma authenticity, sensory analysis and olfactometry, food technology, also lipids (fatty acids)


Neuroactive β-carbolines in food are recently the subject of many studies consideration, so on the basis of our previous research (Wojtowicz, Zawirska-Wojtasiak, Przygoński & Mildner-Szkudlarz, 2015, Food Chem., 175, 280-283) chicory was chosen from among the traditionally used ingredients of coffee substitutes as the one with the highest carbolines content; artichoke was chosen from the few newly proposed ingredients using the same criterion. β-carbolines have been ascribed neuroactive effects in humans, however their positive or negative effect has not been confirmed yet. Two selected material as well as their mixtures were considered both from the neuroactive point of view but also in relation to the bioactive compounds that result from their thermal processing because of their possible toxic properties: acrylamide (ACR), carboxymethyllysine (CML) and furanes. The addition of artichoke to chicory should not be higher than 30% from sensory point of view. Chicory and artichoke contained high levels of β-carbolines. Artichoke appears to be a richer source of β-carbolines than the traditionally chicory, and its addition increases the concentration of β-carbolines. Both materials contained high level of undesirable components, such as furan and its derivatives, ACR and CML, higher in artichoke. The values for this toxic components, reported in this study, however high, they are not in the case of furan exceeded those in coffee or in case of ACR are far below EU recommendation. The antioxidant properties, measured by TP, ABTS and DPPH tests and concentration of phenols, of both materials were good and rather similar.

This study being the first step of further actually going on research, are expected to help in clarifying the problem whether drinking coffee substitute in every day diet might be beneficial or harmful for human health.

This study was financially supported by the National Centre of Science, Poland (Grant 2015/19/B/NZ9/01038).

audience take away :

To get some knowledge about food (coffee substitute) chemical constituents and their positive or negative effects on human health. Comparison to other published data on the subject till now. A stimulus to think about composition of every day diet.