The chlorogenic acid and caffeine content of yerba maté

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Vol.49, n. 3 : pp. 399-404, May 2006 ISSN 1516-8913 Printed in Brazil

BRAZILIAN ARCHIVES OF BIOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY
A N I N T E R N A T I O N A L J O U R N A L

Bioactive Compounds Content of Chimarrão Infusions Related to the Moisture of Yerba Maté (Ilex Paraguariensis) Leaves
Deborah H. M. Bastos*, Ana Claudia Fornari, Yara S. Queiroz and Elizabeth A. F. S. Torres
Departamento deNutrição; Faculdade de Saúde Pública; Universidade de São Paulo; Av. Dr. Arnaldo, 715; dmbastos@usp.br; 01246-904; São Paulo - SP - Brasil

ABSTRACT
The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of the processing stages of yerba maté (Ilex paraguariensis) on the moisture content of the leaves and the efficiency of the aqueous extraction of some bioactive substances. Samples of yerba matéwere analyzed for caffeine, phenolic acids (caffeic acid, 5-caffeoilquinic acid) and flavonoids (quercetin, kaempferol and myricetin) by HPLC equipped with a diode array detector. Processing widely influenced the caffeine and 5-caffeoilquinic acid content of the aqueous extract (p < 0.05), which was related to the moisture content of the leaves. Caffeic acid was present in 45% of the in infusionsfrom dried mate leaves. Quercetin, myricetin and kaempferol were not detected. Key words: Yerba maté (Ilex paraguariensis), processing, bioactive substances

INTRODUCTION
Yerba maté was being consumed by native South American Indians when the new world was discovered by the European people. Native South Americans were aware of yerba maté’s stimulating properties due to caffeine. Nowadays, yerbamaté beverages are also recognized as a rich source of antioxidant substances, the phenolic acids (Carini et al., 1998; Clifford and Ramirez-Martinez, 1990; Filip et al., 2000; Mazzafera, 1997), which are readily absorbed by the body (Bravo, 1998; Olthof et al., 2001; Olthof et al., 2003) and are responsible for the in vitro and in vivo antioxidant effect of these beverages (Baisch et al., 1998;Bracesco et al., 2003). Other physiological effects of yerba maté have also been reported and explain its popular use as a choleretic beverage, among
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others (Gugliucci, 1996; Gorzalczany et al., 2001; Gugliucci and Menini, 2002). The processing of yerba maté consists of three different stages: a) a rapid drying process called “sapeco”, aiming to inhibit enzymatic activity and lower themoisture level; b) a partial drying stage, which usually takes place in rotating drums heated by the burning of wood or gas in places called “barbaqua”, and c) a further drying and subsequent grinding stage, after which the yerba maté is called “cancheada” (Schmalko and Alzamora, 2001; Esmelindro et al., 2002). Process parameters (time/temperature of the drying stages) differ among diverse producers(Esmelindro et al., 2002; Nunez and Kanzig, 1995), depending greatly on the driers’ design and operation. The processed herb is usually a blend of leaves harvested by different producers who form a cooperative to

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Brazilian Archives of Biology and Technology

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Bastos, D. H. M. et al.

build a common “barbaqua”. The “cancheada” herb is used in two beverages,the “chimarrão” (made with hot water) and the “tererê” (made with cold water). Chimarrão is largely consumed by South Americans. Daily consumption ranges from 1.5 to 6 L. Some authors suggested that fresh maté leaves should be used to produce maté beverages instead of dried leaves because the drying process greatly diminished the caffeine content (Schmalko and Alzamora, 2001; Esmelindro et al.,2002). It would be advantageous for the maté industry that herbal beverages should contain high amounts of phenolic compounds, responsible for antioxidant properties already observed, and caffeine, a stimulating compound. Although drying steps destroy caffeine, it should be verified whether the drying process enhances aqueous extraction. This study aimed at evaluating the effects of the processing...
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