Abstract: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the mutagenicity and safety of water extract of the fruit hull of Camellia oleifera Abel (WECO), which was prepared using hot-reflux method. The oral maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of WECO was above 20 g/kg body weight both in rats and in mice, which can be regarded as virtually nontoxic. No mutagenicity was found in Ames test, mouse bone marrow cell micronucleus test and mouse sperm abnormality test. In the subacute study, the SD rats were administered orally at 0.5, 1, or 2 g/kg/BW for 30 d. There were no treatment-related toxic effects from WECO. No significant differences were found in parameters of body weight, hematology value, clinical chemistry value, and organ/body weight ratio. The level of no observed adverse effect level (NOAEL) for WECO was 2 g/kg/BW for subacute toxicity study.
Practical Application: With the gradual increase in tea oil production, it was in urgent need of dealing with Camellia fruit hull, which was always discarded because of low economic benefits. Camellia fruit hull has been shown to have significant antioxidant effects including DPPH radical-scavenging ability and ferric-reducing antioxidant power (Zhang and others 2010). Toxicological evaluation of WECO provided a safety assurance of WECO for developing dietary supplements and functional foods.