EGCG in Food: Exploring Its Functions, Benefits, and Applications


EGCG in Food Exploring Its Functions, Benefits, and Applications


Epigallocatechin gallate(EGCG) stands as a prominent polyphenol abundant in green tea, renowned for its potent antioxidant properties and numerous health benefits. Beyond its role as a dietary supplement, EGCG has found its way into the food industry due to its multifunctional attributes and diverse applications. In this comprehensive exploration, we will delve into the composition, functions, uses, and significance of EGCG in the fascinating world of food production, preservation, and enhancement.

Composition and Properties of EGCG:

Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) belongs to a class of compounds known as catechins, which are flavonoids found primarily in green tea. Chemically, EGCG is a polyphenolic compound characterized by its antioxidant potential and numerous health-promoting properties. It exhibits a molecular structure consisting of multiple hydroxyl (OH) groups and gallate esters.

Key properties of EGCG include:

1. Antioxidant Capacity:EGCG is renowned for its potent antioxidant properties, effectively scavenging free radicals and reducing oxidative stress in the body. This property extends to its applications in food, where it aids in preventing lipid oxidation and preserving food quality.

2. Water Solubility:It is highly soluble in water, facilitating its incorporation into aqueous-based food systems such as beverages, soups, and sauces, enabling efficient dispersion throughout various food matrices.

3. Stability:EGCG exhibits varying degrees of stability depending on environmental factors such as pH, temperature, and exposure to light. Its stability influences its functionality and applications in different food products.

4. Bitterness and Astringency:In its pure form, EGCG can impart a bitter taste and astringency to food products, which may influence its usage levels and applications in certain formulations.

Functions and Applications of EGCG in Food Processing:

The multifunctional nature of EGCG enables its utilization across various stages of food production, offering diverse benefits that contribute to the quality, safety, and health aspects of food products. Let's explore the significant functions and applications of EGCG in food processing:

1. Antioxidant Preservation:EGCG's potent antioxidant properties play a vital role in preventing lipid oxidation and extending the shelf life of food products, particularly oils, fats, and processed meats.

2. Color Retention:As an antioxidant, EGCG helps maintain the natural color of food items by inhibiting the formation of undesirable pigments or preventing the oxidation of existing pigments, preserving the visual appeal of foods.

3. Flavor Enhancement:EGCG contributes to enhancing the flavor profile of certain food products by protecting delicate flavors and aromas from degradation due to oxidation, thereby maintaining the overall sensory quality.

4. Health Supplement Fortification:In functional food formulations, EGCG serves as a natural health supplement due to its potential health benefits, including its antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Functional Beverages:EGCG finds application in functional beverages, including green tea-based drinks and other health-promoting beverages, where it serves as a natural antioxidant and bioactive compound.

6. Natural Preservative:EGCG acts as a natural preservative, inhibiting microbial growth and enhancing the safety and shelf life of certain food products, such as sauces, dressings, and marinades.

Significance of EGCG in the Food Industry:

The utilization of EGCG in the food industry holds substantial significance, offering several advantages that contribute to the preservation, quality, and health aspects of food products:

1. Enhanced Food Safety:EGCG's antimicrobial properties contribute to enhancing food safety by inhibiting microbial growth, reducing the risk of foodborne illnesses, and extending shelf life.

2. Improved Shelf Life:Its antioxidative and preservative properties help extend the shelf life of various food items by preventing oxidation, preserving color, flavor, and nutritional integrity, and reducing food waste.

3. Health-Promoting Attributes:EGCG's potential health benefits, including its antioxidative, anti-inflammatory, and potential anti-cancer properties, contribute to the development of functional foods promoting well-being.

4. Consumer Preferences:As consumers increasingly seek natural and health-promoting food options, EGCG serves as a natural, plant-derived compound that aligns with consumer preferences for clean-label products.

5. Nutritional Enrichment:EGCG contributes to the nutritional profile of foods, offering additional health-promoting compounds that complement the existing nutrient content of various food products.

Considerations and Regulatory Aspects:

While EGCG offers numerous benefits in food processing, certain considerations and regulatory aspects need attention to ensure its safe and responsible use in the food industry:

1. Dosage and Limits:Adherence to recommended usage levels and limits of EGCG is crucial to prevent potential health risks associated with excessive intake, considering individual dietary requirements and regulatory guidelines.

2. Regulatory Compliance:Compliance with food safety regulations and guidelines established by regulatory authorities is essential to ensure the safety, legality, and labeling requirements of using EGCG in food production.

3. Technological Advances and Alternatives:Ongoing research aims to explore technological advancements and alternative ingredients or methods that can fulfill similar functions as EGCG, considering consumer preferences and evolving regulatory landscapes.


Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), with its potent antioxidant properties and diverse applications, serves as a valuable ingredient in the food industry. Its contributions to antioxidant preservation, color retention, flavor enhancement, and potential health benefits make it an essential compound in food processing. However, careful consideration of dosage, regulatory compliance, and consumer perceptions is essential to ensure the responsible use of EGCG in food production. As the demand for natural, health-promoting food products continues to rise, EGCG remains a promising compound, catering to the evolving needs and preferences of consumers in the modern food market.

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