Metabolic dependence of green tea on plucking positions revisited: a metabolomic study.J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Oct 12; 59(19):10579-85.JA
The dependence of global green tea metabolome on plucking positions was investigated through (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis coupled with multivariate statistical data set. Pattern recognition methods, such as principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal projection on latent structure-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA), were employed for a finding metabolic discrimination among fresh green tea leaves plucked at different positions from young to old leaves. In addition to clear metabolic discrimination among green tea leaves, elevations in theanine, caffeine, and gallic acid levels but reductions in catechins, such as epicatechin (EC), epigallocatechin (EGC), epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), and epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), glucose, and sucrose levels were observed, as the green tea plant grows up. On the other hand, the younger the green tea leaf is, the more theanine, caffeine, and gallic acid but the lesser catechins accumlated in the green tea leaf, revealing a reverse assocation between theanine and catechins levels due to incorporaton of theanine into catechins with growing up green tea plant. Moreover, as compared to the tea leaf, the observation of marked high levels of theanine and low levels of catechins in green tea stems exhibited a distinct tea plant metabolism between the tea leaf and the stem. This metabolomic approach highlights taking insight to global metabolic dependence of green tea leaf on plucking position, thereby providing distinct information on green tea production with specific tea quality.