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  • 1 Universidade de São Paulo Centro de Energia Nuclear na Agricultura 13400-970 P.O. Box 96 Piracicaba, SP Brazil
  • 2 Delft University of Technology Interfaculty Reactor Institute Mekelweg 15 2629JB Delft The Netherlands
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Depending on the harvest conditions, coffee beans can be contaminated by soil when dropped to the ground. It is well known that agricultural soils act as sinks for agrochemicals applied to the crops. While coffee is brewed, substances present in the roasted and ground coffee beans are extracted by hot water, emphasizing the need to assess the possible transfer of impurities from the soil to the beverage. Soil-contaminated samples of roasted coffee beans were split into 2 groups according to the treatments: (a) washed and ground and (b) only ground. Brewing was performed in a household espresso machine for both coffees. The resulting beverage was freeze-dried and the elemental composition determined by instrumental neutron activation analysis (INAA). The mass fractions of the terrigenous elements Fe, La, Sc, Sm and Th in the freeze-dried non-washed coffee beverages were, at least, 2 times higher than in the washed samples. These elements are tracers of the soil, indicating that the impurities from the soil reached the beverage.