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SAO PAULO, Jun 24, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- Brazilian scientists have discovered a naturally decaffeinated coffee plant with a rich and full flavor, The Times of London reported Thursday.
The newly discovered variety, named Alcides Carvalho, or AC, after a Brazilian geneticist, is an arabica species. It does not have to be genetically modified to be low in caffeine, and it should interbreed easily with commercial varieties to produce a hybrid for cultivation on a mass scale.
Researchers from the Agronomic Institute of Campinas in Sao Paolo, who identified the plant's qualities, said they expected new decaffeinated blends based on their discovery could be available in supermarkets within five years.
Decaffeinated coffee makes up about 10 percent of the world market, because of increasing concern about side-effects of caffeine, such as insomnia and irregular heartbeat.
It does not generally taste as good as the regular form because the solvent-based process used to extract caffeine also removes important flavor compounds.
The details of the AC bean research were published Thursday in the journal Nature.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.