Degradation of green tea catechins in tea drinks

J Agric Food Chem. 2001 Jan;49(1):477-82. doi: 10.1021/jf000877h.


Green tea cateachins (GTC). namely (-) epicatechin (EC), (-) epicatechin gallate (ECG), (-) epigallocatechin (EGC), and (-) epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), have been studied extensively for their wide-ranging biological activities. The goal of the present study was to examine the stability of GTC as a mixture under various processing conditions. The stability study demonstrated that GTC was stable in water at room temperature. When it was brewed at 98 degrees C for 7 h, longjing GTC degraded by 20%. When longjing GTC and pure EGCG were autoclaved at 120 degrees C for 20 min, the epimerization of EGCG to (-) gallocatechin gallate (GCG) was observed. The relatively high amount of GCG found in some tea drinks was most likely the epimerization product of EGCG during autoclaving. If other ingredients were absent, the GTC in aqueous solutions was pH-sensitive: the lower the pH, the more stable the GTC during storage. When it was added into commercially available soft drinks or sucrose solutions containing citric acid and ascorbic acid, longjing GTC exhibited varying stability irrespective of low pH value. This suggested that other ingredients used in production of tea drinks might interact with GTC and affect its stability. When canned and bottled tea drinks are produced, stored, and transported, the degradation of GTC must be taken into consideration.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Beverages / analysis
  • Catechin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Catechin / chemistry*
  • Drug Stability
  • Food Handling
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Tea / chemistry*
  • Temperature
  • Time Factors


  • Tea
  • Catechin
  • epicatechin gallate
  • epigallocatechin gallate
  • gallocatechol