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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Oct 22;51(22):6578-88.

Fermentation characteristics of some assamica clones and process optimization of black tea manufacturing.

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  • 1Tocklai Experimental Station, Jorhat, Assam 785 008, India.


Changes in the specific activities of polyphenol oxidase (PPO), peroxidase (POD), and protease and in the relative amounts of flavan-3-ols for eight genetically derived cultivated teas at various stages of leaf maturity and in four succescive seasons were examined. A series of investigations were carried out to study the cross-reactivity of complex polyphenols and PPO-generated orange-yellow theaflavins, as well as of POD oxidized substrates, producing brown so-called thearubigins during fermented tea processing. From the estimation of five major catechins, PPO activities in young shoots, and theaflavin and thearubigin contents of crushed, torn, and curled (CTC) black teas, the superior variety and flavorful flush characteristics were refined. Notable protein hydrolysis by endogenous protease as measured from free amino acids and formation of tannin-protein complex (browning products) was obtained for cultivar character and product quality. Results showed that process optimization with respect to time, temperature, moisture, and pH maximizes PPO-catalyzed desirable theaflavin pigments, whereas POD-mediated chemical reaction produces dull color.

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