Analysis of Theaflavins and Thearubigins from Black Tea Extract by MALDI-TOF Mass Spectrometry

Marie Claude Menet, Shengmin Sang, Chung S. Yang, Chi Tano Ho, Robert T. Rosen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

106 Scopus citations


Black tea contains two major groups of pigments, theaflavins (TFs) and thearubigins (TRs). TFs contain a bis-flavan substituted 1,2-dihydroxy-3,4-benzotropolone moiety. Unlike the TFs, TRs have not yet been characterized. The chemical structure of the TRs remains a mystery. The present paper reports our effort to study the structure of TFs and TRs using delayed pulsed ion extraction of ions generated via the matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization (MALDI) technique, on line with a Linear time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometer. Spectra of standard TFs show not only pseudomolecular ions but also ions resulting from fragmentation. The analysis of MALDI-TOF spectra of black tea fractions shows the structure of some TRs, which are similar to those of TFs because the same loss of mass is observed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2455-2461
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 5 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


  • Black tea
  • Delayed extraction
  • Fragmentation
  • Theaflavins
  • Thearubigins

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