Targeted Metabolomics Services


Updated 21/12/2022

What is measured?

Synonyms: N-Methylnicotinic acid, betaine nicotinate.
Method(s): LC-MS/MS (1).

What is trigonelline?

Trigonelline is a phytohormone particularly abundant in coffee beans, and is a marker of coffee consumption (2, 3, 4). Roasting of coffee beans partially converts trigonelline to nicotinic acid.


Trigonelline in plasma/serum/urine is a potential marker of coffee consumption.

Specimen, collection and processing

Matrix: Serum, EDTA plasma and urine
Volume: Minimum volume is 60 µL, but 200 µL is optimal and allows reanalysis.
Preparation and stability: NA.


Frozen, on dry ice. (for general instruction on transportation, click here)

Reported values, interpretation

Reported values: 0.4-25 µmol/l.
Intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC): 0.66-0.74 (3, 4).


1. Midttun, O., Hustad, S., and Ueland, P.M. (2009). Quantitative profiling of biomarkers related to B-vitamin status, tryptophan metabolism and inflammation in human plasma by liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry. Rapid Commun Mass Sp 23, 1371-79.
2. Guertin, K.A., Loftfield, E., Boca, S.M., Sampson, J.N., Moore, S.C., Xiao, Q., Huang, W.Y., Xiong, X., Freedman, N.D., et al. (2015). Serum biomarkers of habitual coffee consumption may provide insight into the mechanism underlying the association between coffee consumption and colorectal cancer. Am J Clin Nutr 101, 1000-011.
3. Guertin, K.A., Moore, S.C., Sampson, J.N., Huang, W.Y., Xiao, Q., Stolzenberg-Solomon, R.Z., Sinha, R., and Cross, A.J. (2014). Metabolomics in nutritional epidemiology: identifying metabolites associated with diet and quantifying their potential to uncover diet-disease relations in populations. Am J Clin Nutr 100, 208-217.
4. Midttun, Ø., Ulvik, A., Nygård, O., and Ueland, P.M. (2018). Performance of plasma trigonelline as a marker of coffee consumption in an epidemiologic setting. Am J Clin Nutr 107, 941-47.

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