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Extraction of Caffeine from Tea





To extract caffeine from tea powder using polar - nonpolar solvent extraction technique.



The technique used to separate an organic compound from a mixture of compounds is called Extraction. Extraction process selectively dissolves one or more of the mixture compounds into a suitable solvent. The solution of these dissolved compounds is referred to as the Extract. Here the organic solvent dichloromethane is used to extract caffeine from an aqueous extract of tea leaves because caffeine is more soluble in dichloromethane (140 mg/ml) than it is in water (22 mg/ml). However, the tannins that are slightly soluble in dichloromethane can be eliminated by converting it to their salts (phenolic anions by adding sodium carbonate) (tannins are phenolic compounds of high molecular weight and being acidic in nature can be converted to salts by deprotonation of the -OH group) which remain in the water.

Bevarages cover a vast variety of addictive drinks out of which Tea and Coffee are the most popular acceptable drinks. Tea powder is extracted from tea leaves which contain tannins, which are acidic in nature,  a number of colored compounds and a small amount of unrecompensed chlorophyll and an important stimulant called Caffeine. Because of the presence of Caffeine, tea and coffee are gaining popularity as an addictive stimulant. An average 30g of tea can contain 20-ll0 mg of caffeine thereby making  tea  a significant source of caffeine compared to other beverages. Caffeine can stimulate nervous system and can cause relaxation of respiratory and cardiac muscles.  Caffeine is well known to increase both the alertness level and attention span. But like all other addictives, tea also shows withdrawal symptoms like headache, nervousness and insomnia for a regular consuming person.

Caffeine, 1,3,7 - trimethylxanthine, belongs to a wide  class of compounds known as alkaloids. These are plant derived compounds with complex structure containing nitrogen, and usually have roles in physiological activity. The melting point of Caffeine is 238°C.




Extraction is a method used for the separation of organic compound from a mixture of compound. This technique selectively dissolves one or more compounds into an appropriate solvent. The solution of these dissolved compounds is referred to as the extract. In the case of Caffeine extraction from tea powder, the solubility of caffeine in water is 22mg/ml at 25°C, 180mg/ml at 80°C, and 670mg/ml at 100°C. Here the organic solvent Dichloromethane is used to extract caffeine from aqueous extract of tea powder because caffeine is more soluble in dichloromethane (140mg/ml) than it is in water (22mg/ml).The dichloromethane - caffeine mixture can then be separated on the basis of the different densities of dichloromethane and water because dichloromethane is much denser than water and insoluble in it. Residual water is separated from dichloromethane by drain out the dichloromethane through separating funnel, thus dichloromethane passed through the funnel while polar solvents such as water is still remains in the funnel. Water and dichloromethane is slightly soluble in each other. So, after separating the solvents, residual water will remain the organic layer. Mainly anhydrous sodium sulfite is used for the removal of water from organic layer. Anhydrous sodium sulfite is an insoluble inorganic solid which will absorb water, thus drying it.




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