was a Japanese agricultural scientist and biochemist whose research focused on the components of green tea. She was the first woman in Japan to receive a doctoral degree in agriculture. Micchyo was perhaps the most outstanding scientist of tea. She made breakthrough after breakthrough in the chemistry of green tea.
she discovered Vitamin C in green tea in 1924. This was a significant finding and the publication of her still famous journal article led to an increase in Japanese tea exports to the US. Five years later in 1929, she went even further in advancing research and isolated catechins in green tea, these are molecular compounds that build tea flavors. The next year, she extracted tannin in crystal form from tea (tannin gives tea its astringent, slightly bitter taste).
She was the first woman awarded a doctorate in agriculture, for her thesis “On the Chemical Components of Tea.” She isolated gallocathechin, a key molecular compound believed to give tea curative and preventive health benefits. In 1935 she patented her method for extracting Vitamin C crystals from plants.
This string of successes earned her a promotion, seven years later in 1942, to junior researcher at a major private institution. Eventually, she obtained a position as a professor in a newly established college in 1949. She was its first dean of the faculty of Home Economics. There hasn’t been any long tradition of tea researchers, but she is surely the greatest.
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