Diverse Metabolite Variations in Tea (Camellia sinensis L.) Leaves Grown Under Various Shade Conditions Revisited: A Metabolomics Study.J Agric Food Chem. 2018 Feb 28; 66(8):1889-1897.JA
With the increase of tea (Camellia sinensis) consumption, its chemical or metabolite compositions play a crucial role in the determination of tea quality. In general, metabolite compositions of fresh tea leaves including shoots depend on plucking seasons and tea cultivators. Therefore, choosing a specific plucking time of tea leaves can provide use-specified tea products. Artificial control of tea growing, typically shade treatments, can lead to significant changes of the tea metabolite compositions. However, metabolic characteristics of tea grown under various shade treatment conditions remain unclear. Therefore, the objective of the current study was to explore effects of various shade conditions on metabolite compositions of tea through a 1H NMR-based metabolomics approach. It was noteworthy that the levels of catechins and their derivatives were only influenced at the initial time of shade treatments while most amino acids were upregulated as amounts of shade and periods were increased: that is, the levels of alanine, asparagine, aspartate, isoleucine, threonine, leucine, and valine in fresh tea leaves were conspicuously elevated when shade levels were raised from 90% to 100% and when period of shade treatments was increased by 20 days. Such increased synthesis of amino acids along with large reductions of glucose level reflected carbon starvation under the dark conditions, indicating remarkable proteolysis in the chloroplast of tea leaves. This study provides important information about making amino acid-enhanced tea products based on global characteristics of diverse tea leaf metabolites induced by various shade treatment conditions.