Transfer of ochratoxin A into tea and coffee beverages

Toxins (Basel). 2014 Dec 17;6(12):3438-53. doi: 10.3390/toxins6123438.


Ochratoxin A (OTA) is nephrotoxic, hepatotoxic, immunotoxic, neurotoxic, reprotoxic, teratogenic, and carcinogenic (group 2B), being characterized by species and sex differences in sensitivity. Despite the fact that OTA is in some aspects a controversial topic, OTA is the most powerful renal carcinogen. The aim of this study was to make a small survey concerning OTA content in black tea, fruit tea, and ground roasted coffee, and to assess OTA transfer into beverages. OTA content was measured using a validated and accredited HPLC-FLD method with a limit of quantification (LOQ) of 0.35 ng/g. The OTA amount ranged from LOQ up to 250 ng/g in black tea and up to 104 ng/g in fruit tea. Black tea and fruit tea, naturally contaminated, were used to prepare tea infusions. The transfer from black tea to the infusion was 34.8% ± 1.3% and from fruit tea 4.1% ± 0.2%. Ground roasted coffee naturally contaminated at 0.92 ng/g was used to prepare seven kinds of coffee beverages. Depending on the type of process used, OTA transfer into coffee ranged from 22.3% to 66.1%. OTA intakes from fruit and black tea or coffee represent a non-negligible human source.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Coffee / microbiology*
  • Food Contamination / analysis*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Fruit / microbiology
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Ochratoxins / analysis*
  • Tea / microbiology*


  • Coffee
  • Ochratoxins
  • Tea
  • ochratoxin A