Morphology of Camellia Sinensis L. leaves as marker of white tea authenticity
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Tea is one of the most common drinks in the world. Classic tea is obtained by brewing the leaves of the Camellia sinensis L plant in hot water. However, even the leaves collected from the same branch of the same tea bush can have completely different anatomical, biochemical and taste characteristics. White tea is the youngest, immature apical leaves of the tea bush (fleshes) together with leaf buds (tips) which are is considered the most valuable parts of teaplant. The chemical composition of tea is studied in sufficient detail, however, there are still no uniform criteria for determining the authenticity of white tea leaves, which creates great preconditions for falsifying this most valuable type of raw material. The aim of this study was to study the macroand microstructure of white tea leaves from different manufacturers and to determine the morphological markers of the authenticity of white tea leaves. The objects of research were white tea from the Nandana Tea Factory (Sri Lanka) and white tea from an unknown manufacturer, purchased from a local tea shop. The study of raw materials was carried out in accordance with the requirements of GF XIV OFS 1.5.1.0003.15 ‘Leaves’ and OFS 1.5.3.0003.15 ‘Technique of microscopic and microchemical examination of medicinal plants and herbal medicinal products.’ The work was carried out on the basis of the laboratories of the Department of Food Technologies of FGBOU VO Saratov GAU named after N.I. Vavilov, and the Department of General Biology, Pharmacognosy and Botany, Saratov State Medical University named after V.I. Razumovsky Ministry of Health of Russia. Studies of the structure of white tea leaves from various manufacturers have shown that the structure and presence of morphological elements of leaves, such as hairs, stomata, leaf edge, druses, sclereids, differ markedly and can serve as reliable markers for identifying the variety of tea.