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HERDIN Record #: PCHRD08161104083034 Submitted: 16 August 2011 Modified: 16 August 2011

Radiation disinfestation/decontamination and its effects on the physico-chemical and organoleptic properties of green tea, a cancer chemopreventive herbal.

Rommelyn R. Manzon

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A vast compilation of researches on the health benefits of green tea revealed that the high level of antioxidant tea polyphenols and catechins (EGCG, ECG, EGC, EC) among others, are the important components in the inhibition and chemoprevention of carcinogenesis based on in vitro and animal models. Although this may encourage its widespread consumption, the problem of post-harvest losses, long-term storage and export vis-a'-vis strict trade/quarantine regulations remain. In our study, we investigate the effects of various doses of radiation (6, 9 and 12 kGy) on the microbial burden, organoleptic and various physico-chemical properties of commercial green tea (Camellia sinensis). Total fungal and bacterial load is drastically reduced by radiation treatment although moisture, pH and total nitrogen content remain invariable within the absorbed dose range. In a blinded, organoleptic test, preparations from green tea irradiated at 9 kGy ranked highest in the hedonic scale attributed to the perceived improvement in aroma and taste. The recovery of crude catechins, identified as among the active anti-cancer component, is decreases in irradiated tea preparations commencing at 9 kGy. Taken together, our data points that radiation, as mode of decontamination and disinfection, is also useful in improving the quality of green tea, a beverage and cancer chemo-preventive agent.

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