PloS one

Metabolomic analysis using ultra-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole-time of flight mass spectrometry (UPLC-Q-TOF MS) uncovers the effects of light intensity and temperature under shading treatments on the metabolites in tea.

PMID 25390340


To investigate the effect of light intensity and temperature on the biosynthesis and accumulation of quality-related metabolites, field grown tea plants were shaded by Black Net and Nano-insulating Film (with additional 2-4°C cooling effect) with un-shaded plants as a control. Young shoots were subjected to UPLC-Q-TOF MS followed by multivariate statistical analysis. Most flavonoid metabolites (mainly flavan-3-ols, flavonols and their glycosides) decreased significantly in the shading treatments, while the contents of chlorophyll, β-carotene, neoxanthin and free amino acids, caffeine, benzoic acid derivatives and phenylpropanoids increased. Comparison between two shading treatments indicated that the lower temperature under Nano shading decreased flavonols and their glycosides but increased accumulation of flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins. The comparison also showed a greater effect of temperature on galloylation of catechins than light intensity. Taken together, there might be competition for substrates between the up- and down-stream branches of the phenylpropanoid/flavonoid pathway, which was influenced by light intensity and temperature.