A kinetic and equilibrium study of rooibos tea infusions.
The total mineral ion concentration of Rooibos Tea was determined using ICP-OES. Significant concentrations of Na, K, Mg, Ca, P were found, and trace levels of Al, Fe, Mo, Sr, Zn, Ba, Cu and Pb detected. Protocatechuic acid, aspalathin and rutin were identified in Rooibos tea infusions analysed with HPLC. Analysis of tea samples by Ion Chromatography showed the presence of Cr and S042- ions. Rooibos Tea liquor had a pH of 4.6 once equilibrium had been reached. Partition coefficients (1.0 - 1.4 mm sieving fraction) for Na+, K+, Mg2+, protocatechuic acid, aspalathin, rutin, S042- and Cl were determined for infusions at 80 C using a graphical and a successive extraction method. A total mineral content method was also used to determine the partition coefficients for the mineral ions. The Na+, K+, Mg2+,SO42-, H2P04- (as P) and Cl ions as well as protocatechuic acid, aspalathin and rutin all displayed first order behavior, allowing the determination of infusion rate constants. The particle size effect was investigated at 80 C. All the mineral ions showed an increase in infusion rate constant with decreasing particle size, protocatechuic acid and aspalathin showed no trend, while the rutin infusion rate constant was independent of particle size. Calcium uptake by the leaf was observed, this was more pronounced with the smaller particle sizes. Infusion rate constants and hence diffusion coefficients were determined for the nine species for temperatures ranging from 45 to 90 C. These diffusion coefficients for the mineral ions were compared with those for the respective species in aqueous media to give hindrance factors, which were of the order of 102. Except for Cl, all hindrance factors increased with an increase in temperature. The infusion rate constants for all the species at the various temperatures were fitted to an Arrhenius equation and activation energies of infusion determined. The values were lower than those predicted theoretically.