Analysis of Tea Pigments and Stains
Alexandra Liaw
Burnaby North Secondary
Floor Location : J 195 R

This experiment was designed to explore the connection between the leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant and how dark each type of tea's stain would be, due to their different production methods. This research topic was chosen because if we discovered more about tea pigments our knowledge could aid in the development of future tea products, or if possible environmentally conscious cleaning detergents and dyes. With this experience, it would be much easier to predict the affects and outcomes of tea stains. This project was quite research based since we wanted to figure out which chemicals in tea would have caused our result. Different types of tea leaves underwent various lengths of the oxidation process, which affected chlorophyll, carotenoid and pheophytin pigments in them. Our final hypothesis was that we thought black tea would stain the darkest (among black tea, well-oxidized oolong tea, mildly oxidized oolong tea, and green tea). Pieces of fabric were left to stain in steeped tea for twenty-four hours. The results corresponded with our prediction. This investigation was a rewarding one, and we acquired knowledge we would not have obtained otherwise. One main reason why we chose to do this project was because we knew beforehand that textile pollution was the second worst at producing biohazards to our environment, so the development of natural dyes should well be relevant in the near future. When tea plantations are abandoned due to the demand of only high quality teas, farmers end up losing their homes and their jobs. Low quality teas are often discarded if sales are poor, so this is a waste of adequate agricultural products and is also utter disrespect to those who must work hard for, but cannot gain anything from it. If we could only use these teas for natural dyes, we would not only be more eco-friendly, but we could save the livelihoods of many. In addition, if we further study the chemical compounds in tea, we could even help to develop safe detergents to combat bio hazardous chemicals now found in cleaners. With even this small bit of knowledge, we might be able to help create new ideas and ways to be more ecological. Pollution is a worldwide problem, and since we all have had our part causing it, it is our duty to do as much as possible (even if it is very little) in order to solve it. As said before we may consider continuing to study this topic to help develop tea related products, such as eco-friendly cleaning detergents or natural dye.