Metabolite profiling using (1)H NMR spectroscopy for quality assessment of green tea, Camellia sinensis (L.).J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Feb 25; 52(4):692-700.JA
A set of 191 green teas from different countries was collected and analyzed by (1)H NMR. It was proposed to establish if the teas could be discriminated according to the country of origin or with respect to quality. Both principal component analysis (PCA) and cluster analysis were applied to the data. Some separation of Chinese and non-Chinese teas was observed. The present results did not allow allocation of samples to individual countries, but cluster analysis suggested that it might be possible with an augmented sample set. The PCA did show a separation between the Longjing type (highest quality Chinese tea) and most other Chinese teas and indicated some metabolites that could be responsible for the difference. Longjing teas showed higher levels of theanine, gallic acid, caffeine, epigallocatechin gallate, and epicatechin gallate and lower levels of epigallocatechin when compared with other teas. These compounds have been mentioned previously in connection with quality, but it was also shown that higher levels of theogallin (5-galloyl quinic acid), theobromine, 2-O-(beta-l-arabinopyranosyl)-myo-inositol and some minor sugar-containing compounds were found in Longjing teas while higher levels of fatty acids and sucrose were found in the other teas. These new markers could prove to be useful for the authentication of bulk tea.