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Patent Issued for Low Mycotoxin Coffee Cherry Products

A patent by the inventors Miljkovic, Dusan ( San Diego, CA); Duell, Brad ( Kailua Kona, HI); Miljkovic, Vukosava ( San Diego, CA), filed on November 25, 2013, was published online on April 3, 2018, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by NewsRx correspondents (see also VDF Futureceuticals Inc.).

Patent number 9930900 is assigned to VDF Futureceuticals Inc. ( Momence, IL).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: “Various parts of the coffee tree have been used for nutritional purposes for a relatively long time (see e.g., Pendergrast, M. Uncommon Grounds. Basic Books: New York, 1999). For example, coffee tree leaves and fresh, ripe coffee cherries were boiled to make tea. In other examples, the pulp of the coffee cherry can be fermented to produce wine as described in Chinese Patent CN 1021949. In a still further well known example, the seeds (i.e., the beans) of the coffee tree are extracted from the cherry, dried, roasted, ground, and extracted with hot water to provide the beverage that many users enjoy as coffee.

“Unfortunately, coffee cherries, and especially the pulp and husk tend to rapidly spoil in the presence of molds, fungi, and other microorganisms, and therefore contain almost always significant levels of mycotoxins (see e.g., Pittet, A., Tornare, D., Huggett, A., Viani, R. Liquid Chromatographic Determination of Ochratoxin A in Pure and Adulterated Soluble Coffee Using anf Immunoaffinity Column Cleanup Procedure. J. Agric. Food Chem. 1996, 44, 3564-3569; or Bucheli, P., Kanchanomai, C., Meyer I., Pittet, A. Development of Ochratoxin A during Robusta (Coffea canephora) Coffee Cherry Drying. J. Agric. Food Chem. 2000, 48, 1358-1362). Thus, beverages produced from the coffee pulp, husk, mucilage, and/or whole coffee cherry generally failed to find acceptance as beverage ingredients (Although one product is advertised as ‘coffee cherry tea’ [], the product is actually made from coffee cherry pulp and was recently determined to have substantial quantities of mycotoxins).

“Even in situations where the pulp, mucilage, and hull is removed, mycotoxins may still be present on and/or in the coffee bean. Consequently, considerable efforts have been undertaken to detoxify coffee beans and other food products. For example, where the mycotoxin is already present in the food product, selected mycotoxins can be extracted from the food product using various solvents and procedures as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,436,756 to Canella et al. On the other hand, various mycotoxins can be adsorbed from the food product onto a mineral carrier as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,935,623 to Alonso-Debolt.

“In still other methods, selected mycotoxins can be degraded using enzymes as described in U.S. Pat. No. 5,716,820 to Duvick et al. The inventors in the ‘820 reference even contemplate that the genes encoding for such enzymes may be cloned to produce transgenic plants that are then thought to be less contaminated with mycotoxins. Alternatively, microorganisms may be employed to destroy enzymatically mycotoxins found in food products as described in U.S. Pat. No. 6,025,188 to Duvick et al.

“Where mycotoxins are not yet produced by a microorganism present on a plant or other food stuff, pesticides or other compositions that control microbial growth or production of mycotoxins in microorganisms may be employed. For example, Emerson et al. describe in U.S. Pat. No. 5,639,794 use of a saponin as a synergist to control colonization and/or growth of plant and animal pathogens. Alternatively, as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,199,606 to Bland, propionic acid on a carrier may be employed as a diffusible growth inhibitor for various microorganisms. Further known compositions (see e.g., U.S. Pat. No. 5,698,599 to Subbiah or U.S. Pat. No. 3,798,323 to Leary) may be employed to suppress or at least reduce synthesis of mycotoxins in a microorganism.

“Alternatively, mycotoxin-containing food products may be blended with uncontaminated food products to a concentration that is acceptable and/or below the maximum allowable amount of mycotoxins in food products (see e.g., Herrman, T. and Trigo-Stockli, D.; Mycotoxins in Feed Grains and Ingredients; Kansas State University, May 2002), or (at least potentially) mycotoxin-containing coffee cherry products may be employed in a non-food product. In still other uses, the mycotoxin content may not be considered relevant as the coffee cherry product is incinerated and thus the mycotoxins are at least partially destroyed as described in U.S. Pat. No. 4,165,752, GB 2026839, or CA 1104410. Here, the inventor teaches that the coffee cherries may be compressed, dehydrated, ground, and roasted to yield a smokable product.

“However, while most of the known methods reduce the concentration of mycotoxins to at least some degree, numerous disadvantages remain. Among other things, additional processing steps will require dedicated equipment, thereby increasing processing time and costs. Moreover, and especially where pesticides and/or fungicides are used, new problems with residual toxic chemicals may arise.

“Thus, despite numerous beneficial properties of coffee cherries and its components, whole coffee cherries are generally not used as food products as mycotoxins are typically present in substantial quantities in the ripe and overripe fruit. Therefore, there is still a need to provide improved methods and compositions for coffee cherries, and especially for products comprising coffee cherries with low or no mycotoxin content for human and veterinary consumption.”

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, NewsRx journalists also obtained the inventors’ summary information for this patent: “The present invention is directed to compositions and methods that include quick-dried (preferably sub-ripe) coffee cherries or portions thereof, wherein the coffee cherries are substantially devoid of, or have a very low content of mycotoxins.

“In one aspect of the inventive subject matter, a food product comprises a preparation of a coffee cherry that is quick-dried such that a mycotoxin level of the coffee cherry is less than 20 ppb for total aflatoxins, less than 10 ppb for total ochratoxins, and less than 5 ppm for total fumonisins. Preferred preparations in such food products include the bean, pulp, mucilage, and/or hull of the quick-dried coffee cherry, or ground fragments of the coffee cherry, or an extract thereof. It is further preferred that the coffee cherry is a sub-ripe coffee cherry. Preferred food products include a tea brewed from the quick-dried (preferably sub-ripe) coffee cherries, or a beverage comprising an extract of the coffee cherry. Alternatively, suitable food products also include nutritional supplements in liquid or solid form comprising an extract of the coffee cherry.

“Contemplated sub-ripe coffee cherries have a primarily green color with less than 25% red color, more preferably a primarily red color with less than 25% green color, and even more preferably a primarily red color with less than 5% blemished area. The (sub-ripe) coffee cherries may be quick-dried using various methods, however, it is generally preferred that the coffee cherries are quick dried using heated air or exposure to sun and/or ambient air.

“In another aspect of the inventive subject matter, a tea is brewed from a comminuted or ground quick-dried (preferably sub-ripe) coffee cherry or portion thereof, wherein the coffee cherry has a mycotoxin level of less than 20 ppb for total aflatoxins, less than 10 ppb for total ochratoxins, and less than 5 ppm for total fumonisins, and preferably has a polyphenol concentration of at least 10 mg/oz (most preferably at a chlorogenic acid to caffeine ratio of at least 2.7).

“Thus, viewed from another perspective, it is contemplated that a quick-dried coffee cherry or portion thereof has a mycotoxin level of less than 20 ppb for total aflatoxins, less than 10 ppb for total ochratoxins, and less than 5 ppm for total fumonisins, preferably having a chlorogenic acid content of at least 2% (wt/wt) and a polyphenol content of at least 3.2% (wt/wt).

“Various objects, features, aspects and advantages of the present invention will become more apparent from the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention.”


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