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    Scientists Release Production Technology of High-purity Tea Saponin
    Update time: 2018-10-09
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    Oil-tea camellia is a unique woody oil-bearing crop in China. The oil-tea camellia processing industry is a pillar industry that energetically develops green agriculture and modern agriculture in Jiangxi, Hunan and Hubei and other main oil-tea camellia producing areas. In addition to tea seed oil, oil-tea camellia seed also contains 12-18% tea saponin, which is an excellent natural non-ionic surfactant with high economic value.

    At present, due to the oil-tea camellia seed is mostly used as a single oil-bearing crop, the tea saponin extract raw material oil-tea meal is mostly treated as waste, resulting in waste of resources and environmental pollution. Therefore, processing and producing high-purity tea saponin and realizing the high-value comprehensive utilization of oil-tea are industrial problems to be solved urgently.

    Recently, a research team led by WANG Jianxun of biobased material group of Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology (QIBEBT), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) has developed a preparation method of high-purity tea saponin. The key technology for industrialization of high-purity tea saponin is produced by waterless compound solvent flash extraction hybrid membrane.

    The new waterless compound solvent greatly avoids the influence of impurities such as protein and polysaccharide, improves the purity of tea saponin and improves the color of tea saponin products; flash extraction technology can realize the rapid and thorough extraction of tea saponin at lower temperature. The method has high extraction rate of tea saponin, and at the same time, the obtained tea saponin has less impurities and higher purity. On this basis, the research team further carries out engineering research, completes the model selection and design of the corresponding key equipment, which has formed a mature technology package that can be used for industrialization promotion and demonstration.

    At the same time, on the basis of obtaining high-purity tea saponin products, the research group further develops and studies the application of the tea saponin, using the excellent surface activity and natural antibacterial function of tea saponin, through the combination of various natural active functional ingredients and micellar miscibility technology, the research group designs and develops three kinds of tea saponin high-end toiletries with natural ingredients, strong detergency, no residue, bactericidal, nourishing, skin care and other functions.

    This research has positive significance for improving the utilization technology and level of China’s unique biomass resources, promoting regional economic development and achieving scientific and technological precision poverty alleviation. The related series of research have obtained the support of regional key projects of the Chinese Academy of science and technology service network plan (STS).

    Figure.  A. Commercially available tea saponin, which containing polysaccharides, proteins and other magazines, with a poor color. B. Tea saponin obtained by the research group, with less impurities and white color. ( Image by XUN Mingyue and WANG Jianxun)

     (Text by XUN Mingyue and WANG Jianxun)


    CHENG Jing

    Qingdao Institute of Bioenergy and Bioprocess Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences

    Tel: 86-532-80662647

    E-mail: chengjing@qibebt.ac.cn



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