White and Green Teas (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis): Variation in Phenolic, Methylxanthine, and Antioxidant Profiles


Recent investigations have associated white teas with anti‐carcinogenic, immune‐boosting, and antioxidative properties that may impact human health in a manner comparable to green teas. An in‐depth chemical analysis of white tea types was conducted to quantify polyphenols and antioxidant potential of 8 commercially available white teas, and compare them to green tea. Extraction and HPLC protocols were optimized and validated for the quantification of 9 phenolic and 3 methylxanthine compounds to examine inter‐ and intra‐variation in white and green tea types and subtypes. A sampling strategy was devised to assess various subtypes procured from different commercial sources. Variation in antioxidant activity and total phenolic content (TPC) of both tea types was further assessed by the 1‐1‐diphenyl‐2‐picrylhydrazyl (DPPH) and Folin–Ciocalteau (F–C) assays, respectively. Total catechin content (TCC) for white teas ranged widely from 14.40 to 369.60 mg/g of dry plant material for water extracts and 47.16 to 163.94 mg/g for methanol extracts. TCC for green teas also ranged more than 10‐fold, from 21.38 to 228.20 mg/g of dry plant material for water extracts and 32.23 to 141.24 mg/g for methanol extracts. These findings indicate that statements suggesting a hierarchical order of catechin content among tea types are inconclusive and should be made with attention to a sampling strategy that specifies the tea subtype and its source. Certain white teas have comparable quantities of total catechins to some green teas, but lesser antioxidant capacity, suggesting that white teas have fewer non‐catechin antioxidants present.




Unachukwu, Uchenna J., Selena Ahmed, Adam Kavalier, James T. Lyles, and Edward J. Kennelly. “White and Green Teas (Camellia Sinensis Var. Sinensis): Variation in Phenolic, Methylxanthine, and Antioxidant Profiles.” Journal of Food Science 75, no. 6 (August 2010): C541–C548. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.01705.x.
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