Source: Embrapa, Genetics and Biotechnology Resources Division
Date: January 2015


Coffee contains a protein that has pain relief effects similar to morphine, researchers at the University of Brasilia (UnB) and the state-owned Brazilian Corporation of Agricultural Research – Embrapa have discovered.

Embrapa said in a press release that its Genetics and Biotechnology Resources Division and the UnB successfully “identified previously unknown fragments of protein – peptides – in coffee that have an effect similar to morphine,” i.e. an analgesic and sedative activity.

The research was conducted by Felipe Vinecky, a doctoral researcher at UnB, who is looking to improve the quality of the grain through the combination of genes.

The studies also have the support of France’s Center for International Cooperation on Agricultural Research and Development, or CIRAD.

In the course of study, the scientists managed to find new proteins similar to those used for human pain relief.

Both the University and Embrapa applied for patents to the Brazilian government for seven proteins they called “opioid peptides.”

Those peptides “have a positive differential: their effects last longer in experiments with laboratory mice,” the press release said.

Embrapa states that their discovery has great “biotechnological potential” for the health food industry, and could also help to minimize stress in animals at slaughterhouses.

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