Production, Composition, and Health Effects of Oolong Tea
Keywords:Tea, Polyphenol, Enzymatic oxidation, Health
AbstractTea, one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, is produced from the leaves of the plant Camellia sinensis L.. Tea has important physiological properties and potential health benefits due to the presence of compounds such as polyphenols, amino acids, vitamins, carbohydrates, caffeine, and purine alkaloids. Tea is produced in three types as green tea (unfermented), oolong tea (partially fermented), and black tea (fully fermented). Black tea is consumed worldwide, whereas green and oolong teas are consumed mainly in Asia and North Africa. The total tea production in the world consists of about 78% black tea, 20% green tea and <2% oolong tea. In the production of green tea, the fresh leaves are steamed or roasted to avoid enzymatic oxidation. Black tea is fully oxidized during fermentation. Oolong tea is partially fermented to permit a moderate level of enzymatic oxidation during processing. The degree of fermentation of oolong tea leaves ranges from 20 to 60%, depending upon consumer demand. Oolong tea has a taste and color somewhere between green and black tea. Green tea contains 30-42% catechins in dry mass, while black tea contains 3-10% and oolong 8-20%. Oolong tea has a higher antioxidant activity and lipoxygenase inhibitory activity as compared to black tea. Oolong tea exhibits a stronger antimutagenic activity than green or black tea. Oolong tea is reported to have anticancer, antiobesity, antidiabetes, antiallergic effects, and prevent atherosclerosis and heart disease. In this review, the production, composition and health effects of oolong tea have been discussed.
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