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Antioxidant capacity of different types of tea products

SM Karori
FN Wachira
JK Wanyoko
RM Ngure


In the present study, twelve different types of commercial tea samples were assayed to determine their phenolic composition and antioxidant activity. Reverse phase high performance liquid chromatography
using a binary gradient system was used for the identification and quantification of individual catechins. Subsequently, total phenolic content was determined spectrophotometrically according to
the Folin-ciocalteus method. Total theaflavins and thearubigins were also determined. The radical scavenging behavior of the polyphenols on 2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl radical (DPPH) was also studied spectrophotometrically. The results showed that total polyphenols, total catechins and antioxidant activity were significantly (P<0.05) different in the commercial tea samples. Green tea had the highest levels of catechins, total polyphenols and total antioxidant activity. White tea (silvery tip) a rare specialty type of tea was not significantly different from green tea. Statistical analysis showed an essential catechin content influence of the tea extracts on antioxidant activity. Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) was the most potent catechin and the most potent in antioxidant activity (r = 0.989***). Epigallocatechin
(EGC) (r = 0.787, P<0.001), epicatechin (EC) + catechin (+C) and epicatechigallate (ECG) also showed significant (P<0.05) antioxidant activity. Black tea contained high levels of theaflavins and
thearubigins, which accounted for most of the antioxidant potential in this type of tea product (r =0.930*** and r = 0.930*** respectively). These results suggest that conversion of catechins during black
tea processing did not affect the free-radical potency of black tea. Gallic acid (GA) also showed significant(r = 0.530*) contribution to the antioxidant activity in black tea. Green, black and white tea
products processed from Kenyan tea cultivars originally selected for black tea had significantly (P<0.05) higher antioxidant activity than green tea processed from tea cultivars from Japan and China.
These results seem to suggest that the cultivar type is critical in determining the antioxidant potency of tea product and that black teas processed from suitable cultivars could be potent in antioxidant activity
when compared to green teas.

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eISSN: 1684-5315