Theanine is a non-protein amino acid that occurs naturally in the tea plant (Camellia sinensis) and contributes to the favourable taste of tea. It is also associated with effects such as the enhancement of relaxation and the improvement of concentration and learning ability. It is also linked with health benefits including the prevention of certain cancers and cardiovascular disease, the promotion of weight loss and enhanced performance of the immune system. Thus, there has been a significant rise in the demand for theanine. While theanine has been chemically and biologically synthesised, techniques to isolate theanine from natural sources remain an important area of research. In this review article, the properties and health benefits of theanine are summarised and the synthesis and isolation of theanine are reviewed and discussed. Future perspectives for the isolation of theanine from natural sources are also outlined.
Copyright © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry.