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New test could help consumers avoid surprise headaches from chocolate, wine
Date:10/1/2007

n of light produced by the sample upon exposure to a laser beam. In the study, Mathies and colleagues used a prototype device to analyze tyramine and histamine concentrations in a variety of wines (both red and white), beer and sake. They found that the device accurately measured the biogenic amines present in the beverages in less than five minutes.

The highest levels of tyramine were found in red wine, and the highest levels of histidine were found in sake, the researchers note. The beer tested contained only small amounts of these biogenic amines, they say.

Some foods have more biogenic amines than others, but you cant tell because they arent listed on the food labels, Mathies says. Even a single glass of wine has been known to trigger elevated blood pressure, heart rate and headaches in some people, he notes. I think that certain foods, especially wines, should indicate their biogenic amine content.

Besides beverages, the test can be used for a wide range of food products, including cheese, chocolate, fish and even sauerkraut. In addition to being used by consumers in the home, the device could be used by industry as a quick method to monitor or limit the biogenic amine content of foods and beverages, according to the researchers. It can also be used to screen foods that have been deliberately contaminated, they say.

Mathies envisions that the test will eventually be engineered into a PDA or other handheld device that consumers can use at home or in a restaurant to instantly screen a food or beverage sample for the presence of these toxins. More research is needed before this occurs, he says.

The study was funded, in part, by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The analyzer was originally developed to look for organic molecules, particularly amino acids, on future explorations of Mars. A version of the sensor has been developed for use in the European Space Agencys 2013 ExoMars mission, Mathies sa
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Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
202-872-4400
American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert

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