Analysis of 5-hydroxymethylfurfual in coffee, dried fruits and urine

Mol Nutr Food Res. 2006 Sep;50(9):842-6. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.200500262.


5-Hydroxymethylfurfural has become a substance of interest since recent results showed a possible carcinogenic potential in consequence of a metabolic activation by sulfotransferases. 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural is formed either by acid catalysed degradation of reducing sugars or via the Maillard reaction. This work provides an overview of foods potentially containing high amounts of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. It comprises dried fruits with a high sugar content that were exposed to heat for a long time. The concentration ranges from very low in, e. g. figs (1 mg/kg) to plums that contained up to 2,200 mg/kg. Several types of roasted coffee were analysed that contained from 300 to 2,900 mg/kg of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. In a small human study with seven healthy volunteers the urine excretion of unmetabolised 5-hydroxymethylfurfural was investigated. After uptake of 20 g of plum jam containing 24 mg of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, 163 microg (mean) were excreted within 6 h, an equivalent of 0.75% of the ingested 5-hydroxymethylfurfural.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carbohydrates / analysis
  • Carcinogens / analysis
  • Coffee / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Food Preservation*
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Furaldehyde / analogs & derivatives*
  • Furaldehyde / analysis
  • Furaldehyde / urine
  • Hot Temperature
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Maillard Reaction
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Carbohydrates
  • Carcinogens
  • Coffee
  • 5-hydroxymethylfurfural
  • Furaldehyde