Multivariate effects of Chinese keemun black tea grades (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis) on the phenolic composition, antioxidant, antihemolytic and cytotoxic/cytoprotection activities.Food Res Int. 2019 11; 125:108516.FR
The main objectives of the study were to compare the phenolic composition, chemical and biological antioxidant activities, and cytotoxicity towards IMR90, HCT8, and A549 cell lines of eight grades of Chinese keemun black tea (Camellia sinensis var. sinensis) using a statistical approach. No cytotoxic effects were observed on IMR90 normal cells. Our results all together show that the chemical antioxidant capacity of high-grade black teas measured by DPPH, FRAP, and total reducing capacity assays was correspondingly higher than the mean values of low-grade teas and these antioxidant assays were not associated with cytotoxicity towards cancerous cell lines (HCT8 and A549). High grades of Chinese keemun black teas contained higher contents of total phenolics, flavonoids and ortho-diphenols than lower grades and theaflavin-3,3'-di-gallate could only be detected in high black tea grades (T1 and T2). Intermediate-high keemun black tea grades - C1, C3, T1, and T2 - which also had the highest mean values of TPC, flavonoids, o-diphenols, theaflavin-3-gallate, theaflavin-3'-gallate, Fe2+ chelating ability, and chemical antioxidant activity, presented the highest inhibition of Wistar rat's brain oxidation. No clear differentiation and trend were observed between erythrocyte protection and Chinese black tea grades as results clearly showed that intermediate black tea grades (C3 and C4) protected more the human erythrocytes against mechanical stress. Our study shows that although higher Chinese keemun black tea grades (T1 and T2) presented the highest TPC, flavonoids, and chemical antioxidant activity, these in vitro chemical assays were not translated into higher biological activity.