1 Journal of the Brazilian Chemical Society 1999 Vol: 10(6):. DOI: 10.1590/S0103-50531999000600004

Methylxanthines accumulation in Ilex species - caffeine and theobromine in erva-mate (Ilex paraguariensis) and other Ilex species

Ilex paraguariensis St.Hil. is an important crop used commonly at the meridional South America as a source of a stimulant beverage, called maté, prepared by infusion of its processed leaves and twigs. We describe herein the methylxanthines analyses in the leaves of I. paraguariensis and other Ilex species reported as maté adulterants. The methylxanthines content determined by HPLC were 0.65% for caffeine and 0.12% for theobromine from I. paraguariensis var. paraguariensis, and 0.003% for caffeine and 0.22% (estimated) for theobromine from I. paraguariensis var. vestita. It was not detected any methylxanthines from I. brevicuspis, I. dumosa and I. microdonta. Considering the results, simultaneous caffeine and theobromine accumulation seems hitherto to be a particular characteristic of I. paraguariensis. In addition to taxonomical significance, these data suggest that it should be possible to trace adulterations of the genuine I. paraguariensis using the methodology described herein.

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