Commercial green tea from Portugal: comprehensive microbiologic analyses

Carla Viegas, Flávio Sá, Margarida Mateus, Patrícia Santos, Beatriz Almeida, Liliana Aranha Caetano, Anita Quintal Gomes, Susana Viegas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In recent times green tea (GT) consumption has increased, due to the numerous studies that indicate a wide variety of health benefits following its regular consumption. The aim of this study was to assess the bioburden (bacteria and fungi) of bulk and bags of GT marketed in Lisbon and to obtain a more refined fungal burden characterization, including azole resistance profile. The bacteriota in tea bags before boiling ranged from lower than the detection limit to 1770 CFU.g−1, whereas in brew samples ranged from lower than the detection limit to 54.55 CFU.mL−1. In bulk samples before boiling ranged from lower than the detection limit to 2636 CFU.g−1, while after boiling ranged from lower than the detection limit to 72.73 CFU.mL−1. Fungal contamination on tea bags before boiling ranged from lower than the detection limit to 66.67 CFU.g−1 and after boiling, all samples presented results lower than the detection limit. Concerning bulk samples before boiling ranged from lower than the detection limit to 96.97 CFU.g−1, whereas after boiling ranged from lower the detection limit to 30.3 CFU.mL−1. Before boiling, the most common fungal species in the bagged tea (90.91 CFU.g−1; 45.45%) and bulk samples (66.67 CFU.g−1; 91.67%) was Aspergillus section Nigri. Fungal diversity was higher on bulk samples than in tea bags. Aspergillus section Nigri and Rhizopus sp. growth was observed mostly on itraconazole-supplemented Sabouraud dextrose agar media, which require further investigation. Aspergillus sections Fumigati and Nidulantes were detected by using real time PCR, but not in the GT samples in which they were identified through culture-based methods. A significantly reduction of bacterial contamination after boiling was observed, however fungal contamination with toxigenic potential was observed before and after boiling. Future research work needs to characterize in detail the mycotoxins contamination to allow a risk-benefit assessment to estimate the human health benefits and risks following tea consumption and to support policy-actions, if and when needed. The results also suggest that the conditions how tea is packed can influence the fungal diversity and this variable should be further investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108795
JournalInternational Journal of Food Microbiology
Volume333
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2020

Keywords

  • Aspergillus sp.
  • Azole resistance profile
  • Bacteria
  • Bulk and tea bags
  • Fungi
  • Green tea

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