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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Plant Sci. | doi: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01518

Plant-Climate Interaction Effects: Changes in the Relative Distribution and Concentration of the Volatile Tea Leaf Metabolome in 2014-2016

  • 1Department of Chemistry, School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University, United States
  • 2Sensory and Science Center, School of Engineering, Tufts University, United States
  • 3Department of Biology, School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University, United States
  • 4Department of Health and Human Development, College of Education, Health and Human Development, Montana State University, United States
  • 5Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, Tufts University, United States
  • 6Department of Geography, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida, United States
  • 7Department of Anthropology, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, University of Florida, United States
  • 8Tea Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, China
  • 9College of Life and Environmental Sciences, Minzu University of China, China

Climatic conditions affect the chemical composition of edible crops, which can impact flavor, nutrition and overall consumer preferences. To understand these effects, we sampled tea (Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze) grown in different environmental conditions. Using a target/nontarget data analysis approach, we detected 564 metabolites from tea grown at two elevations in spring and summer over three years in two major tea-producing areas of China. Principal component analysis and partial least squares-discriminant analysis show seasonal, elevational, and yearly differences in tea from Yunnan and Fujian provinces. Independent of location, higher concentrations of compounds with aromas characteristic of farmers’ perceptions of high-quality tea were found in spring and high elevation teas. Yunnan teas were distinct from Fujian teas, but the effects of elevation and season were different for the two locations. Elevation was the largest source of metabolite variation in Yunnan yet had no effect in Fujian. In contrast seasonal differences were strong in both locations. Importantly, the year-to-year variation in chemistry at both locations emphasizes the importance of doing multi-year studies, and further highlights the challenge farmers face when trying to produce teas with specific metabolite profiles.

Keywords: Climate Change, plant-climate interactions, Season, elevation, Tea quality, Metabolomics, GC/MS

Received: 28 Aug 2019; Accepted: 31 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Kfoury, Scott, Orians, Ahmed, Cash, Griffin, Matyas, Stepp, Han, Xue, Long and Robbat. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Albert Robbat, Department of Chemistry, School of Arts and Sciences, Tufts University, Medford, United States, albert.robbat@tufts.edu