Invited Review

Caffeine Degradation Pathways Mediated by Microbial Communities in Tea Fermentation  

Jie Zhang1 , Baofu Huang2 , Guangman Xu2
1 Institute of Life Sciences, Jiyang Colloge of Zhejiang A&F University, Zhuji, 311800, Zhejiang, China
2 Chinese Traditional Medicine Center, Cuixi Academy of Biotechnology, Zhuji, 311800, Zhejiang, China
Author    Correspondence author
Journal of Tea Science Research, 2024, Vol. 14, No. 1   doi: 10.5376/jtsr.2024.14.0006
Received: 07 Jan., 2024    Accepted: 11 Feb., 2024    Published: 26 Feb., 2024
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This is an open access article published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Preferred citation for this article:

Zhang J., Huang B.F., and Xu G.M., 2024, Caffeine degradation pathways mediated by microbial communities in tea fermentation, Journal of Tea Science Research, 14(2): 57-63 (doi: 10.5376/jtsr.2024.14.0006)

Abstract

The fermentation of tea is a complex biochemical process significantly influenced by the microbial communities present. This review paper focuses on the caffeine degradation pathways mediated by these microbial communities during tea fermentation. Understanding the mechanisms behind caffeine degradation is essential for optimizing tea processing to cater to varying consumer demands regarding caffeine content. This review comprehensively covers the role of microbial communities identified in different types of tea, such as Pu-erh, Oolong, and Black tea, and their specific interactions that lead to caffeine degradation. We discuss the involvement of key microorganisms, including various fungi and bacteria, and the enzymatic processes they facilitate. Special attention is given to the metabolic pathways of caffeine transformation, highlighting how specific microbes like Aspergillus sydowii and Lactobacillus casei contribute to these processes. Additionally, the paper examines environmental and processing factors that influence microbial activity and caffeine degradation. By synthesizing current research, this review aims to shed light on the potential of microbial engineering to develop tea products with controlled caffeine levels, thereby enhancing their health benefits and flavor profiles. Future research directions are suggested, focusing on the genetic and metabolic engineering of microbes to refine the caffeine degradation process further.

Keywords
Ccaffeine degradation; Tea fermentation; Microbial communities; Microbial engineering; Enzymatic pathways
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