Send to

Choose Destination
J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Aug 10;53(16):6477-83.

Seasonal variations of phenolic compounds in Australia-grown tea (Camellia sinensis).

Author information

South China Botanic Garden, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou ReYiJu 510650, People's Republic of China.


Seasonal variations of phenolic compounds in fresh tea shoots grown in Australia were studied using an HPLC method. Three principal tea flavanols [epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), epicatechin gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin (EGC)] and four grouped phenolics [total catechins (Cs), total catechin gallates (CGs), total flavanols (Fla), and total polyphenols (PPs)] in fresh tea shoots were analyzed and compared during the commercial harvest seasons from April 2000 to May 2001. The levels of EGCG, ECG, and CGs in the fresh tea shoots were higher in the warm months of April 2000 (120.52, 34.50, and 163.75 mg/g, respectively) and May 2000 (128.63, 44.26, and 183.83 mg/g, respectively) and lower during the cool months of July 2000 (91.39, 35.16, and 132.30 mg/g, respectively), August 2000 (91.31, 31.56, and 128.64 mg/g, respectively), and September 2000 (96.12, 33.51, and 136.90 mg/g, respectively). Thereafter, the levels increased throughout the warmer months from October to December 2000 and remained high until May 2001. In the warmer months, the levels of EGCG, ECG, and CGs were in most cases significantly higher (P < 0.05) than those in the samples harvested in the cooler months. In contrast, the levels of EGC and Cs were high and consistent in the cooler months and low in the warmer months. The seasonal variations of the individual and grouped catechins were significant (P < 0.05) between the cooler and warmer months. This study revealed that EGCG and ECG could be used as quality descriptors for monitoring the seasonal variations of phenolics in Australia-grown tea leaves, and the ratio (EGCG + ECG)/EGC has been suggested as a quality index for measuring the differences in flavanol levels in fresh tea shoots across the growing seasons. Mechanisms that induce seasonal variations in tea shoots may include one or all three of the following environmental conditions: day length, sunlight, and/or temperature, which vary markedly across seasons. Therefore, further studies under controlled conditions such as in a greenhouse may be required to direct correlate flavonoid profiles of green tea leaves with their yields and also to with conditions such as rainfall and humidity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for American Chemical Society
Loading ...
Support Center