The impact of packaging materials on the antioxidant phytochemical stability of aqueous infusions of green tea (Camellia sinensis) and yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) during cold storage

J Agric Food Chem. 2011 May 11;59(9):4676-83. doi: 10.1021/jf104799y. Epub 2011 Mar 31.


Ready to drink (RTD) teas are a growing segment in the beverage category, brought about by improvements in the flavor of these products and healthy market trends driven by consumers. The presented results evaluated the antioxidant phytochemical stability of RTD teas from aqueous infusions of traditional green tea (Camellia sinensis) and a botanical tea from yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria) as influenced by packaging materials during cold storage. Two common packaging materials for RTD products are glass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and have been compared to a retortable pouch (RP), an emerging packaging material for various types of food since it is durable, inexpensive, lightweight, and easy to sterilize. Storage stability was then evaluated for each aqueous infusion prepared at 10 g/L at 90 °C for 10 min and evaluated at 3 °C in the absence of light over 12 weeks. Analyses included quantification and characterization of individual polyphenolics by high-performance liquid chromatography-photodiode array and liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-mass spectrometry as well as changes in total antioxidant capacity. For green tea, concentrations of the three major flavan-3-ols, epigallocatechin gallate, epigallocatechin, and epicatechin gallate were better retained in glass bottles as compared to other packages over 12 weeks. In yaupon holly, chlorogenic acid and its isomers that were the predominant compounds were generally stable in each packaging material, and a 20.6-fold higher amount of saponin was found as compared to green tea, which caused higher stability of flavonol glycosides present in yaupon holly during storage. The antioxidant capacity of green tea was better retained in glass and PET versus RP, whereas no differences were again observed for yaupon holly. Results highlight the superiority of oxygen-impervious glass packaging, but viable alternatives may be utilizable for RTD teas with variable phytochemical compositions.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry*
  • Camellia sinensis / chemistry*
  • Cold Temperature
  • Food Handling
  • Food Packaging / instrumentation
  • Food Packaging / methods*
  • Ilex vomitoria / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Tea / chemistry*


  • Antioxidants
  • Plant Extracts
  • Tea