Applicability of cork as novel modifiers to develop electrochemical sensor for caffeine determination
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This study aims to investigate the applicability of a hybrid electrochemical sensor com-posed of cork and graphite (Gr) for detecting caffeine in aqueous solutions. Raw cork (RAC) and regranulated cork (RGC, obtained by thermal treatment of RAC with steam at 380◦C) were tested as modifiers. The results clearly showed that the cork-graphite sensors, GrRAC and GrRGC, exhibited a linear response over a wide range of caffeine concentration (5–1000 µM), with R2 of 0.99 and 0.98, respectively. The limits of detection (LOD), estimated at 2.9 and 6.1 µM for GrRAC and GrRGC, suggest greater sensitivity and reproducibility than the unmodified conventional graphite sensor. The low-cost cork-graphite sensors were successfully applied in the determination of caffeine in soft drinks and pharmaceutical formulations, presenting well-defined current signals when analyz-ing real samples. When comparing electrochemical determinations and high performance liquid chromatography measurements, no significant differences were observed (mean accuracy 3.0%), highlighting the potential use of these sensors to determine caffeine in different samples.