• antimicrobial activity;
  • antioxidant activity;
  • biochemical activity;
  • gamma radiation;
  • tea

ABSTRACT:  Processed dry tea leaves are prone to microbial contamination during post-processing handling and storage. The dry tea leaves may thus carry bacteria and fungi of potential health risk to consumers. Also, during storage under high humidity, absorption of moisture may encourage fungal growth and result in caking of the product. Gamma radiation processing was tried as a method for microbial decontamination. A radiation dose of 5 kGy was found to be effective for this purpose. No significant effect was observed on total phenolics in radiation-processed tea leaves. The antioxidant and biological properties of tea such as free radical scavenging activity, inhibition of xanthine oxidase and lipid peroxidation, and superoxide and nitrite scavenging activities were not affected due to radiation treatment within a dose of 10 kGy. The antimicrobial and sensory properties were also unaffected by the radiation treatment.