Antioxidants are recommended to prevent and treat oxidative stress diseases. Plants are a balanced source of natural antioxidants, but the poor solubility of plant active molecules in aqueous media can be a problem for the formulation of pharmaceutical products. The potential of PlantCrystal technology is known to improve the extraction efficacy and antioxidant capacity (AOC) of different plants. However, it is not yet proved for plant waste. Black tea (BT) infusion is consumed worldwide and thus a huge amount of waste occurs as a result. Therefore, BT waste was recycled into PlantCrystals using small-scale bead milling. Their characteristics were compared with the bulk-materials and tea infusion, including particle size and antioxidant capacity (AOC) in-vitro. Waste PlantCrystals possessed a size of about 280 nm. Their AOC increased with decreasing size according to the DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) and ORAC (oxygen radical absorbance capacity) assays. The AOC of the waste increased about nine-fold upon nanonization, leading to a significantly higher AOC than the bulk-waste and showed no significant difference to the infusion and the used standard according to DPPH assay. Based on the results, it is confirmed that the PlantCrystal technology represents a natural, cost-effective plant-waste recycling method and presents an alternative source of antioxidant phenolic compounds.
Keywords: Camellia sinensis; PlantCrystals; antioxidant capacity; black tea; ecofriendly pharmaceutics; nanonization; plants; plants waste; small-scale bead milling.