Theaflavins and thearubigins are major pigments in black tea, and they are produced by oxidation and polymerization of flavan-3-ols (catechins) during tea fermentation. In the course of studies on the mechanism of black tea polyphenol formation, we have systematically studied peroxidase-mediated oxidation of tea catechins. Individual catechins, appropriate pairs of catechins, and the combination of selected catechins and theaflavins have been used as substrates of peroxidase. Different dimers, trimers and a tetramer are formed. This work has led to the characterization of some of the new trimers in black tea by LC/ESI-MS/MS. The proposed mechanisms for the peroxidase-mediated reaction are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-241
Number of pages13
JournalPhytochemistry Reviews
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Plant Science


  • Black tea
  • Catechins
  • Dimer
  • LC/MS/MS
  • Oxidation
  • Peroxidase
  • Tetramer
  • Theaflavin
  • Thearubigin
  • Trimer

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