Determination of Furan in Coffee by Static and Dynamic Headspace/GC/MS


Coffees have aroma and taste based on where the beans are grown, roasting techniques and flavour additives.  One component of the bean responsible for the aroma and some of the taste are volatile organic compounds (VOC).  Furan is one VOC that has recently been investigated in food. An FDA method for furan in food uses static headspace and requires 30 minutes of incubation time at  60°C. Figure 1 shows the SCION Instruments 8X00 GC platform.

Figure 1. the SCION Instruments 8500 GC platform with 8700 SQ-GCMS.

This application note presents data comparing the determination of furan in dry coffee by both static and  dynamic headspace techniques. In the dynamic headspace method analytes are swept and concentrated on a sorbent trap that greatly increases compound sensitivity and decreases sample preparation time.

Table 1 is showing the analytical conditions of the GC-MS system.

Table 1: Analytical settings GC-MS.

Instrument Parameters

The HT3 headspace sampler was connected to a SCION Instruments 8500-GC-MS. In figure 2 the SCION Instruments HT3 Headspace sampler is presented.

Figure 2. SCION Instruments HT3 Headspace Sampler.

The Headspace sampler  parameters are presented in table 2.

Table 2: Parameters HT3 Headspace sampler.


Coffee samples of 5 grams were weighed into vials and crimp capped.  The static method followed the FDA’s 30 minutes sample heating time.  The dynamic method trapped the VOC’s on a proprietary #9 trap by sweeping the sample for 15 minutes at 50mL/min. The VOC’s were rapidly desorbed from the trap at 250°C and detected with the GC/MS.  The HT3 maintained the sample at 60°C following the FDA method.

Results and Discussion

A sample chromatogram is presented in figure 3, showing the chromatogram The peak area of the 68m/z ion specific for furan with both the static and the dynamic methods were compared.  Table 3 is the peak area data and its corresponding graph.

Figure 3:  Comparison of the Dynamic (Blue) and Static (Red) Total Ion Chromatogram (TIC) (top) and the Specific Mass Ion 68 m/z for Furan (bottom).

The dynamic technique detects approximately 30 times more furan from the same size sample when compared to a static method. In addition the dynamic option shortens the analysis time to 15 minutes.

Table 3: Precision of the quantitation column.


The determination of furan in coffee in association with the SCION Instruments 8500 GC-MS is easy to perform both static and dynamic techniques with the  HT3 SCION Instruments Headspace Sampler.

Although the 4X6-GC series is not shown in this application note, it is also possible to perform this method on the SCION instruments 4X6 GC series. Ordering information can be found below. For customisation please contact your local sales representative.

Order Information

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Download complete Application Note here: Determination of Furan in Coffee by Static and Dynamic Headspace/GC/MS

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