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J Agric Food Chem. 2012 Sep 12;60(36):9171-9. doi: 10.1021/jf302583r. Epub 2012 Sep 4.

Variation in phenolic content and antioxidant activity of fermented rooibos herbal tea infusions: role of production season and quality grade.

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Post-Harvest and Wine Technology Division, Agricultural Research Council (ARC), Infruitec-Nietvoorbij, Private Bag X5026, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa.


Data are required to calculate the dietary exposure to rooibos herbal tea flavonoids and phenolic acids. Representative content values for the principal phenolic compounds and total antioxidant capacity of fermented rooibos infusion, taking into account variation caused by production seasons (2009, 2010, and 2011) and quality grades (A, B, C, and D), were determined for samples (n = 114) from different geographical areas and producers. The major phenolic constituents were isoorientin and orientin (>10 mg/L), with quercetin-3-O-robinobioside, phenylpyruvic acid glucoside, and aspalathin present at >5 mg/L. Isovitexin, vitexin, and hyperoside were present at <3 mg/L. Rutin, ferulic acid, and isoquercitrin were present at <2 mg/L. Nothofagin was present at <1 mg/L. Only traces of luteolin-7-O-glucoside and the aglycones quercetin, luteolin, and chrysoeriol were present. Substantial variation was observed in the individual content values of the phenolic compounds and total antioxidant capacity within production seasons and quality grades.

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