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Ion exchangers in the removal of caffeine from aqueous solutions

Didinedin, Gürcan
Caffeine is a commercially important member of a group of purine alkaloids found in coffee, tea and cacao particularly. It is an important ingredient in beverages and most important chemical element of stimulating pharmaceuticals. Caffeine is either manufactured by total synthesis or as a by-product from the decaffeinated coffee manufacturing. To investigate the equilibrium relationship of caffeine in ion exchange systems, which are widely used for recovery and purification processes, was the aim of this study. The effects of initial caffeine concentration and pH of the solution on equilibrium were also investigated. Stock solutions of caffeine were prepared for screening of available adsorbents and cation exchange resins. A batch type operation was carried out in a shaker bath at 40 oC with 200 rpm agitation rate. After preliminary experiments, only Lewatit S100, which is a strongly acidic cation exchange resin with s-dvb copolymer matrix, was studied. For the analysis of samples, HPLC equipment with Shimadzu PDA Detector at 254 nm and Nucleosil 100 C18 column was used. As mobile phase, a mixture of 8% acetonitrile, 8% 2-Propanol, and 1% acetic acid was introduced at 1.5 mL/min flow rate. Results showed that, the caffeine uptake capacity of cation exchange resin was poor. A set of experiments were performed at three initial concentrations (0.005 M, 0.0075 M, and 0.01 M) and four different pH regions (acidic, slightly acidic, neutral, and basic). It was found that, at extreme pH conditions, the caffeine loading capacity of the resin was slightly increased. A significant effect of initial caffeine concentration, however, couldn’t be observed. Due to the poor performance of gel type cation exchange resin and large molecular structure of caffeine molecule, Lewatit’s SPC 112 macroporous resin was studied briefly for caffeine uptake performance. It was observed that SPC 112 has also poor but better loading capacity than S100 cation exchange resin.