Author(s): Hernndez I, Alegre L, MunnBosch S
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Abstract (-)-Epicatechin (EC) and (-)-epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), two major tea flavan-3-ols, have received attention in food science and biomedicine because of their potent antioxidant properties. In plants, flavan-3-ols serve as proanthocyanidin (PA) building blocks, and although both monomeric flavan-3-ols and PAs show antioxidant activity in vitro, their antioxidant function in vivo remains unclear. In the present study, EC quinone (ECQ) and EGCG quinone (EGCGQ), the oxidation products of EC and EGCG, increased up to 100- and 30-fold, respectively, in tea plants exposed to 19 days of water deficit. Oxidation of EC and EGCG preceded PAs accumulation in leaves, which increased from 35 to 53 mg gDW(-1) after 26 days of water deficit. Aside from the role monomeric flavan-3-ols may play in PAs biosynthesis, formation of ECQ and EGCGQ strongly negatively correlated with the extent of lipid peroxidation in leaves, thus supporting a protective role for these compounds in drought-stressed plants. Besides demonstrating flavonoid accumulation in drought-stressed tea plants, we show for the first time that EC and EGCG are oxidized to their respective quinones in plants in vivo.
This article was published in Phytochemistry
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology