Antioxidant capacity and polyphenolic components of teas

Antioxidant capacity and polyphenolic components of teas: implications for altering in vivo antioxidant status by Prior RL, Cao G.

The Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity (ORAC) assay was used to determine the total antioxidant capacity of tea. Green and black teas (n = 18) had a mean antioxidant capacity of 761.1 +/- 85.3 micromol Trolox Equivalents (TE) per g dry matter. However, their antioxidant capacity varied from 235 micromol to over 1526 micromol Trolox equivalents (TE)/g dry matter, and total phenolics ranged from 32 to 147 mg/g in different commercial teas. One tea phenolics extract had an antioxidant capacity of 4796 micromol TE/g dry matter and 625 mg total phenolics/g. On a dry matter basis, an antioxidant capacity of 761 micromol TE/g is considerably higher than any of the other fruits and vegetables measured in our laboratory. However, since dry tea is not consumed directly, brewing conditions may influence the final antioxidant capacity in the tea as consumed. We tested both green and black teas by placing one tea bag (1.95 g) in 150 ml (5 oz.) of boiling water. In the first brewed cup, approximately 84% of the total antioxidant activity was solubilized within the first 5 min of brewing. An additional 13% of the antioxidant activity was extracted into the second glass of 150 ml with an additional 5 min of brewing. At the dilutions obtained after the first brewing, the tea as consumed would contain approximately 8. 31 micromol TE per ml. This total antioxidant capacity compares to other drinks from fruits and vegetables that had antioxidant capacity values ranging from 1.6 to 15 micromol TE/ml. At these antioxidant levels, consumption of 150 ml of tea could make a significant contribution to the total daily antioxidant capacity intake. (-)-Epicatechin and (+)-catechin, two components from tea, had an antioxidant capacity of 2.36 and 2.49 micromol/micromol or 8. 13 and 8.58 micromol/mg, respectively. In 16 tea samples we observed a mean of 10.0 +/- 0.6 micromol TE/mg total phenolics. Tea can be an important source of what has been referred to as "non-nutrient" antioxidant phytochemicals. However, with the variation that exists in antioxidant capacity with various tea preparations, measures of antioxidant capacity intake are critical to the study of intake and health outcomes and/or biomarkers of health outcomes.

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