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J Agric Food Chem. 2009 May 27;57(10):4204-11. doi: 10.1021/jf9005033. Epub 2009 Apr 10.

Effect of heat on aspalathin, iso-orientin, and orientin contents and color of fermented rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) iced tea.

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ARC Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Private Bag X5026, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa.


The phenolic quality of commercial South African fermented rooibos iced teas in terms of aspalathin, iso-orientin, and orientin contents in comparison to a "cup of tea" was shown to be inferior. The role of the different manufacturing stages of powdered extract used in iced tea formulation and, more specifically, the impact of pasteurization and sterilization on the color and phenolic content of the beverage, were assessed as potential causes of its inferior phenolic quality. Aspalathin and its corresponding flavones, iso-orientin and orientin, were found to be present at all stages of the powdered extract production process. Spray-drying did not significantly (P ≥ 0.05) alter the aspalathin, iso-orientin, or orientin content of concentrates. Simulated normal-temperature sterilization (NTS at 121 °C/15 min) and high-temperature sterilization (HTS at 135 °C/4 min), but not necessarily pasteurization (93 °C/30 min), significantly (P < 0.05) reduced the aspalathin, iso-orientin, and orientin contents of different iced tea formulations. Heat-induced losses of iso-orientin and orientin were lower than those for aspalathin. Conversion of aspalathin to the flavones is implicated. The addition of ascorbic acid and/or citric acid to the base iced tea formulation containing only rooibos extract and sugar proved to be beneficial, especially for the retention of aspalathin. Browning, that is, absorbance at 420 nm, was significantly (P < 0.05) increased in the base formulation. In the case of the formulations also containing ascorbic acid and/or citric acid, absorbance remained unchanged or decreased when subjected to NTS and HTS treatments. This was attributed to removal of brown polymers from solution as the pH values of these formulations were lower than that of the base formulation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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