Interaction of environmental moisture with powdered green tea formulations: effect on catechin chemical stability

J Agric Food Chem. 2008 Jun 11;56(11):4068-77. doi: 10.1021/jf800246s. Epub 2008 May 20.


Green tea and tea catechins must be stable in finished products to deliver health benefits; however, they may be adversely affected by tea processing/storage conditions and the presence of other components. The objective of this study was to determine the effects of storage relative humidity (RH) and addition of other ingredients on catechin stability in simulated dry beverage mixtures. Samples of green tea powder alone and mixed with sucrose, citric acid, and/or ascorbic acid were prepared and stored in desiccators at 22 degrees C and 0-85% RH for up to 3 months. Epicatechin, epigallocatechin, epicatechin gallate, and epigallocatechin gallate were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Formulation and the interaction of formulation and RH significantly promoted catechin degradation ( P < 0.0001). The chemical degradation of total and individual catechins in green tea powder formulations was significantly increased ( P < 0.0001) by exposure to increasing RH, and the degradation was exacerbated at > or = 58% RH by the presence of powdered citric acid and at > or = 75% RH by the presence of ascorbic acid. Catechins degraded the most in formulations containing both acids. Although catechin chemical stability was maintained at < or = 43% RH in all samples stored at 22 degrees C for 3 months, caking was observed in samples at these relative humidities. These results are the first to demonstrate that addition of other dry components to tea powders may affect catechin stability in finished dry blends and highlight the importance of considering the complex interplay between a multicomponent system and its environment for developing stable products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Ascorbic Acid / chemistry
  • Catechin / chemistry*
  • Drug Stability
  • Environment*
  • Food Preservation*
  • Humidity*
  • Sodium Nitrite / pharmacology
  • Tea / chemistry*


  • Tea
  • Catechin
  • Sodium Nitrite
  • Ascorbic Acid