Analysis of coumarin and its glycosidically bound precursor in Japanese green tea having sweet-herbaceous odour
Author: Ziyin Yang and Tomomi Kinoshita and Aya Tanida and Hironori Sayama and Akio Morita and Naoharu Watanabe
Coumarin is a natural product well-known for its pleasant sweet-herbaceous and cherry flower-like odour. Despite coumarin being widely found in the plant kingdom, its occurrence in tea leaves is very poorly characterised. In this work, green tea made from the cultivars “Shizu-7132”, “Koushun” and “Tsuyuhikari” were found to have sweet-herbaceous odour. Application of the stable isotope dilution assay for the quantification of coumarin revealed that its levels in these Japanese green tea products ranged from 0.26 to 0.88 μg/g of green tea product, whereas concentrations were generally below 0.2 μg/g in common green tea products. In contrast to the leaf, the stem part contained much less coumarin. During the manufacturing process of the tea (Shizu-7132), the steaming time and drying temperature influenced the content of coumarin in the final product. Due to hydrolysis of glycosidically bound coumarin precursors, in fresh tea leaves most coumarin occurred in its free form. Tea leaves also contained small amounts of bound coumarin precursors, such as primeveroside.