Phoenix Dan Cong Tea: An Oolong Tea variety with promising antioxidant and in vitro anticancer activity

  • Xiaobin Zhang
  • Zhenhuan Song
  • Yuanyuan You
  • Xiaoling Li
  • Tianfeng Chen
Keywords: Dan Cong Tea; aqueous extract; cell apoptosis; Protective effect; free radical- scavenging; oxidative damage


Background: Phoenix Dan Cong tea is an Oolong tea produced in Chaozhou, China. Nowaday, the experimental studies on the benefical effects of the Phoenix Dan Cong tea are rare.

Objective: The objective of this study was to comprehensively evaluate the activity of Phoenix Dan Cong tea aqueous extract (PDCe).

Methods: We used a series of evaluation methods in the present study to achieve an in-depth understanding and evaluation of the antioxidant and antitumor activity of PDCe.

Results: High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) studies have indicated that PDCe is rich in catechins such as gallocatechin (GC), epigallocatechin (EGCG) and epicatechin gallate (ECG), with sparse amounts of theaflavins. We discovered that PDCe scavenges ABTS•+ and DPPH• free radicals in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, PDCe can significantly induce apoptosis of MDA-MB231 cells, mainly through the death-receptor-mediated extrinsic apoptotic pathway. Internalized PDCe can not only downregulate intracellular reactive oxygen species levels but also induce oxidative damage to mitochondria in MDA-MB231 cells.

Conclusions: Phoenix Dan Cong tea may act as a substitute for natural antioxidants and as a promising anticancer agent due to its protective effect on human health.


Download data is not yet available.


  1. Widowati W, Herlina T, Ratnawati H, Constantia G, Deva IDGS, Maesaroh M. Antioxidant potential of black, green and Oolong Tea Methanol Extracts. Biol Med & Nat Prod. Chem 2015;4:35–39.

  2. Venkatalakshmi P, Brindha P, Vellingiri V. In vitro antioxidant and anti-inflammatory studies on bark, wood and fruits of Terminalia catappa L. Int J Phytomed 2015;7:246–253.

  3. Bagchi K, Puri S. Free radicals and antioxidants in health and disease. Cell mol biol (Noisy-le-Grand, France). 1998;53:1–2.

  4. Johnson P. Antioxidant enzyme expression in health and disease: effects of exercise and hypertension. Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol 2002;133:493–505.

  5. Wiseman SA, Balentine DA, Frei B. Antioxidants in tea. Crit Rev Food Sci 1997;37:705–718.

  6. Hara Y. Elucidation of physiological functions of Tea Catechins and their practical applications. J Food Drug Anal 2012;20:296–300.

  7. Yang CS, Jin HY, Guan F, Chen YK, Wang H. Cancer preventive activities of Tea Polyphenols. J Food Drug Anal 2012;20:318–322.

  8. Nakayama T, Ishii T, Uekusa Y, Kato K, Kumazawa S. Interaction of tea catechins with phospholipids - Roles in their tastes and biological activities. J Food Drug Anal 2012;20:305–308.

  9. Hossain MS, Nibir YM, Zerin S, Ahsan N. Antibacterial activities of the Methanolic extract of Bangladeshi Black tea against various human pathogens. Dhaka Univ J Pharm Sci 2015;13:97–103.

  10. Zhao C, Li C, Liu S, Yang L. The galloyl catechins contributing to main antioxidant capacity of tea made from Camellia sinensis in China. Sci World J 2014;2014:1–11.

  11. Tijburg LB, Mattern T, Folts JD, Weisgerber UM, Katan MB. Tea flavonoids and cardiovascular disease: a review. Crit Rev Food Sci 1997;37:771–785.

  12. Haslam E. Thoughts on thearubigins. Phytochemistry 2003;64:61–73.

  13. Chen GH, Yang CY, Lee SJ, Wu CC, Tzen JTC. Catechin content and the degree of its galloylation in oolong tea are inversely correlated with cultivation altitude. J Food Drug Anal 2014;22: 303–309.

  14. Chung TY, Kuo PC, Liao ZH, Shih YE, Cheng ML, Wu CC, et al. Analysis of lipophilic compounds of tea coated on the surface of clay teapots. J Food Drug Anal 2015;23:71–81.

  15. Grinberg LN, Newmark H, Kitrossky N, Rahamim E, Chevion M, Rachmilewitz EA. Protective effects of Tea Polyphenols against oxidative damage to Red Blood Cells. Biochem Pharmacol 1997;54:973–978.

  16. Barbosa NS, Kalaaji AN. CAM use in dermatology. Is there a potential role for honey, green tea, and vitamin C? Complement Ther Clin 2014;20:11–15.

  17. Lykkesfeldt J, Michels AJ, Frei B. Vitamin C. Adv Nutr 2014;5:16–18.

  18. Lamuela-Raventós RM, Singleton VL, Orthofer R. Analysis of total phenols and other oxidation substrates and antioxidants by means of Folin-Ciocalteu reagent. J Wiley & sons 1999;299:152–178.

  19. Ballus CA, Meinhart AD, Campos FADS, Godoy HT. Total phenolics of virgin olive oils highly correlate with the Hydrogen Atom Transfer Mechanism of Antioxidant Capacity. J Am Oil Chem Soc 2015;92:843–851.

  20. Russo A, Cardile V, Lombardo L, Vanella L, Vanella A, Garbarino JA. Antioxidant activity and antiproliferative action of methanolic extract of Geum quellyon Sweet roots in human tumor cell lines. J Ethnopharmacol 2005;100:323–332.

  21. Schoenmakers P. Practical HPLC method development. J Chromatogr 1988;16:338–338.

  22. Taylor T. The LCGC blog: practical HPLC method development screening; LC GC N. Am 2016, 1–2.

  23. Miller NJ, Sampson J, Candeias LP, Bramley PM, Rice-Evans CA. Antioxidant activities of carotenes and xanthophylls. Febs Lett 1996;384:240.

  24. Xie L, Luo Z, Zhao Z, Chen T. Anticancer and Antiangiogenic Iron(II) complexes that target thioredoxin reductase to trigger cancer cell apoptosis. J Med Chem 2017;60:202–214.

  25. Liu C, Fu Y, Li CE, Chen T, Li X. Phycocyanin-functionalized selenium nanoparticles reverse palmitic acid-Induced pancreatic beta cell apoptosis by enhancing cellular uptake and blocking Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS)-Mediated Mitochondria Dysfunction. J Agric Food Chem 2017;65:4405–4413.

  26. Chen J, Luo Z, Zhao Z, Xie L, Zheng W, Chen T. Cellular localization of iron(II) polypyridyl complexes determines their anticancer action mechanisms. Biomaterials 2015;71:168–177.

  27. Deng Z, Yu L, Cao W, Zheng W, Chen T. A selenium-containing ruthenium complex as a cancer radiosensitizer, rational design and the important role of ROS-mediated signalling. Chem Commun (Camb) 2015;51:2637–2640.

  28. Fu X, Yang Y, Li X, Lai H, Huang Y, He L, et al. RGD peptide-conjugated selenium nanoparticles: antiangiogenesis by suppressing VEGF-VEGFR2-ERK/AKT pathway. Nanomed: Nanotechnol 2016;12:1627–1639.

  29. Fan C, Zheng W, Fu X, Li X, Wong YS, Chen T. Enhancement of auranofin-induced lung cancer cell apoptosis by selenocystine, a natural inhibitor of TrxR1 in vitro and in vivo. Cell Death Dis 2014;5:e1191.

  30. Huang Y, He L, Liu W, Fan C, Zheng W, Wong YS, et al. Selective cellular uptake and induction of apoptosis of cancer-targeted selenium nanoparticles. Biomaterials 2013;34:7106–7116.

  31. Jiang W, Fu Y, Yang F, Yang Y, Liu T, Zheng W, et al. Gracilaria lemaneiformis polysaccharide as integrin-targeting surface decorator of selenium nanoparticles to achieve enhanced anticancer efficacy. ACS Appl Mater Inter 2014;6:13738–13748.

  32. Sinha R, Elbayoumy K. Apoptosis is a critical cellular event in cancer chemoprevention and chemotherapy by selenium compounds. Curr Cancer Drug Tar 2004;4:13–28.

  33. Li XL, Wong YS, Xu G, Chan JCN. Selenium-enriched Spirulina protects INS-1E pancreatic beta cells from human islet amyloid polypeptide-induced apoptosis through suppression of ROS-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and PI3/AKT pathway. Eur J Nutr 2015;54:509–522.

  34. Yu Z, Ying-Xin G, Jia-Ji M, Jun-Yu S, Shi-Chong Q, Hong-Chang L. N-acetyl cysteine protects human oral keratinocytes from Bis-GMA-induced apoptosis and cell cycle arrest by inhibiting reactive oxygen species-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction and the PI3K/Akt pathway. Toxicol in Vitro 2015;29:2089–2101.

  35. Kim GJ, Kim W, Kim KT, Lee JK. DNA damage and mitochondria dysfunction in cell apoptosis induced by nonthermal air plasma. Appl Phys Lett 2010;96:1721.

  36. Agarwal C, Veluri R, Kaur M, Chou SC, Thompson JA, Agarwal R. Fractionation of high molecular weight tannins in grape seed extract and identification of procyanidin B2-3,3′-di-O-gallate as a major active constituent causing growth inhibition and apoptotic death of DU145 human prostate carcinoma cells. Carcinogenesis 2007;28:1478–1484.

  37. Kumar S. Caspase function in programmed cell death. Cell Death Differ 2007;14:32–43.

  38. Zhang X, Dai C, You Y, He L, Chen T. Tea regimen, a comprehensive assessment of antioxidant and antitumor activities of tea extract produced by Tie Guanyin hybridization. RSC Adv 2018;8:11305–11315.

  39. Ni HM, Williams JA, Ding WX. Mitochondrial dynamics and mitochondrial quality control. Redox Biol 2015;4:6.

  40. Wang C, Zhang H, Xue Z, Yin H, Niu Q, Chen H. The relation between doses or post-plasma time points and apoptosis of leukemia cells induced by dielectric barrier discharge plasma. Aip Adv 2015;5:143702–143129.

  41. Klaunig JE, Wang Z, Pu X, Zhou S. Oxidative stress and oxidative damage in chemical carcinogenesis. Toxicol Pathol 2011;38:96–109.

  42. Held P. Tech Resources-app guides. Biotek Com; 1970.

  43. Ma E, Sasazuki S, Shimazu T, Sawada N, Yamaji T, Iwasaki M, et al. Reactive oxygen species and gastric cancer risk: a large nested case-control study in Japan. Eur J Epidemiol 2015;30:589–594.

How to Cite
Zhang X., Song Z., You Y., Li X., & Chen T. (2018). Phoenix Dan Cong Tea: An Oolong Tea variety with promising antioxidant and <em>in vitro</em&gt; anticancer activity. Food & Nutrition Research, 62.
Original Articles