Pulsed Electric Field as an Alternative Pre-treatment for Drying to Enhance Polyphenol Extraction from Fresh Tea Leaves

Zhibin Liu, Erik Esveld, Jean-Paul Vincken, Marieke E. Bruins*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Drying is an essential pre-treatment prior to extraction of tea polyphenols from tea leaves, which is a time and energy-intensive process. In this study, pulsed electric field (PEF) was utilized to replace the conventional thermal dehydration procedure before the phenolic extraction. The influence of different PEF conditions on total polyphenol yield from fresh tea leaves combined with a solid-liquid extraction were compared. PEF treatment at 1.00 kV/cm electric field strength, 100 pulses of 100 μs pulse duration, and 5 s pulse repetition, which delivered 22 kJ/kg and induced 1.5 °C of temperature increase, was used for further study on the extraction kinetics of green tea catechins. The results indicated that compared to oven drying, PEF pre-treatment increased the extraction rate by approximately two times, without significantly altering the phenolic profiles, as revealed by using liquid chromatography combined with mass spectrometry. Scanning electron microscopy imaging revealed that PEF pre-treatment induced the formation of inhomogeneously distributed pores and protuberances on the surface of leaf tissues, which might facilitate the penetration of extraction solvent and the migration of phenolics. This study demonstrates that PEF as a time and energy efficient processing method is a promising alternative for the conventional drying process before further tea polyphenol extraction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-192
JournalFood and Bioprocess Technology
Issue number1
Early online date1 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Fresh tea leaves
  • Phenolic profile
  • Polyphenol extraction
  • Pulsed electric field
  • Scanning electron microscope


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