Tea fertilized by the dung of giant pandas has provoked controversy in Sichuan Province after a local entrepreneur claimed it could help prevent cancer.
The "panda tea" is charged 20,000 yuan (US$3,175) for every 50 grams.
An Yanshi, a businessman and calligrapher, has been growing "panda tea" fertilized with 10 tons of giant panda dung since November in the city of Ya'an.
He is charging 20,000 yuan (US$3,175) for every 50 grams of tea, hoping to make it into the Guinness Book of World Records with his sky-high pricing.
He plans to sell just 21 batches of tea at 50 grams per batch every year.
An said he chose the price based on the tea's restorative capabilities, which he claims are the result of using panda dung.
"Pandas eat natural bamboo leaves without any additives, which makes their dung the best fertilizer." he said.
"The tea leaves also have an anti-cancer function, which I believe was strengthened by using such good fertilizer."
However, An's claims have been widely dismissed by experts.
"While green tea can help to prevent and cure gastrointestinal tumors, there is no evidence to show that panda dung can enhance this function," said Dr Shi Jun of the Institute of Botany under the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
"In addition, there have been no scientific reports indicating that bamboo leaves can prevent cancer. Even if the leaves were found to have cancer-preventing properties, there is no way the properties could be transferred to tea leaves," Shi said.
Another expert said An was right about panda dung as a fertilizer, but said it had no effect on cancer.
"Panda dung is a truly good fertilizer, but it does not have the ability to create cancer-preventing plants," said Zhang Hemin, director of the Wolong Giant Panda Protection Research Center.
An came up with the idea of using panda dung after learning that giant pandas only used around 20 percent of the nutritional value of the plants they eat.
He reckoned the rest would be in the dung.
An said he would donate his profits to the Environmental Volunteer Alliance, an environmental protection organization he plans to establish himself.