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J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jun 11;56(11):4047-53. doi: 10.1021/jf073095y. Epub 2008 May 14.

Enhancement of Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) aqueous extract and antioxidant yield with fungal enzymes.

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Department of Microbiology, Stellenbosch University, Private Bag XI, Matieland 7602, South Africa.


The leaves and stems of the Rooibos plant ( Aspalathus linearis) are used for the production of an herbal tea known for its health promoting properties, which have been linked to its flavonoid content but which is substantially reduced by the traditional processing method employed. Selected food-grade fungi were screened for their potential to improve the yield of soluble matter extracted from rooibos plant material. Fungal cocktails of hydrolyzing enzymes enhanced either the yield of soluble solids ( Lentinula edodes and Rhizopus oryzae cultured in yeast peptone-wheat straw medium) or the yield in antioxidants from fermented rooibos ( R. oryzae cultured in potato dextrose or yeast peptone-wheat straw medium). When applied to green rooibos, L. edodes (cultured in yeast peptone-wheat straw medium) enhanced the release of soluble solids as well as color formation, leading to semifermented rooibos with a relatively high aspalathin content, compared to fermented rooibos.

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