Contents of Chromium and Arsenic in Tea (Camellia sinensis L.): Extent of Transfer into Tea Infusion and Health Consequence


Tea (Camellia sinensis L.) is the most popular beverage in the world after water. Due to acidophilic nature of tea plant, it has inherent tendency to uptake metals/metalloids including the toxic ones from the soil which is of great concern worldwide. In this study, level of chromium (Cr) and arsenic (As) were assessed in four hundred ninety-seven (497) black tea samples collected from six tea growing regions of Assam and North Bengal, India. The average concentration of Cr and As in the tested black tea samples was 10.33 and 0.11 μg g−1, respectively. Since tea is consumed as a beverage, transfer of Cr and As from black tea to its hot water extract (also known as tea infusion) was also accessed. The amount of Cr and As determined in the tea infusion was much less (< 0.20 to 1.38 μg g−1 for Cr and < 3.60 to 34.79 μg kg−1 for As) than those in the black teas with the transfer rate up to 5.96% and 8.53%, respectively. The present study showed that values of hazard quotient were well below one suggesting that intake of Cr and As from consumption of five cups of tea equivalent to 10 g black tea would not impose any health hazard.

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The data of present work were collected as a part of Mr. Tupu Barman’s pre-PhD thesis at Tocklai Tea Research Institute, Jorhat, Assam, India. We acknowledge Tea Board of India, Ministry of Commerce, Govt. of India, under XI plan project on studies on heavy metals—Phase II—chromium and arsenic for the financial support in this work. The financial support provided by the programme entitled “DBT’s Overseas Associateship in respect of North Eastern Region (NER) through NER Biotechnology Programme Management Cell (NER-BPMC)” vide Department of Biotechnology (DBT) Sanction Order BT/20/NE/2011 dated 23.05.2018 for Dr. Tanmoy Karak is hereby duly acknowledged. Finally, we express our sincere thanks to two anonymous reviewers for their valuable suggestions to improve this manuscript.

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Barman, T., Barooah, A.K., Goswami, B.C. et al. Contents of Chromium and Arsenic in Tea (Camellia sinensis L.): Extent of Transfer into Tea Infusion and Health Consequence. Biol Trace Elem Res 196, 318–329 (2020).

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  • Arsenic
  • Assam and North Bengal, India
  • Black tea
  • Chromium
  • Infusion
  • Hazard quotient