Effect of Sunlight Exposure and Different Withering Durations on Theanine Levels in Tea (Camellia sinensis)


Theanine is a non-protein amino acid representing as much as 50% of the total amino acids in black tea and 1% - 2% of dry weight in green tea. It has been shown to be able to reduce high blood pressure, promote relaxation, and inhibit caffeine’s side effects among others. This current study explored the effects of sunlight and withering durations on theanine levels in tea shoots. Theanine content from three leaves and a bud, two leaves and a bud and internodes were detected and quantified by using High Performance Liquid chromatography (HPLC). Sunlight exposure experiment was started at dawn (0600 HRS, GMT + 3.00) when the light intensity was low and tea was collected at three-hour interval throughout the day to (1800 Hrs, GMT + 3.00) when the light intensity had dropped. At the start of the experiment, the theanine levels were significantly high but as the intensity of sunlight increased during the day there was a significant drop in theanine levels, and as the sun set the theanine levels increased significantly again in all samples. The results also showed that theanine levels were significantly increased after 15 hours of withering. Three leaves and a bud withered for 3 hours had mean theanine levels of 1.41% and those withered for 15 hours had mean theanine levels of 3.11%. Internodes exhibited higher mean theanine levels than those of leaves. In the light of these results, it’s evident that withering for a longer period of time and harvesting of tea when the light intensity is low ensure high amount of theanine in tea.

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Too, J. , Kinyanjui, T. , Wanyoko, J. and Wachira, F. (2015) Effect of Sunlight Exposure and Different Withering Durations on Theanine Levels in Tea (Camellia sinensis). Food and Nutrition Sciences, 6, 1014-1021. doi: 10.4236/fns.2015.611105.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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