punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Now we know what fuels the drama llama

"They talk of my drinking, but never my thirst..." - Scottish proverb

This has Internet in-joke written all over it. It's about llamas and caffeine. More specifically, how llama antibodies may be used to detect caffeine levels in beverages because, apparently, their antibodies can survive extremely high temperatures.


The most stable version of the caffeine-specific antibody, which came from a llama named Very Senorita, recovered 90 percent of its activity after exposure to 194 degrees Fahrenheit (90 degrees centigrade) -- about the temperature of a really hot cup of coffee. A similar antibody produced from mice broke down at 158 degrees Fahrenheit.

A lab test using the caffeine-specific antibody accurately measured the amount of caffeine in coffee and cola drinks. The antibody cross-reacted very little with theophylline or theobromine, the caffeine-like compounds in teas, so the caffeine content of teas could be measured without interference from these substances.
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