Insights into Tissue-specific Specialized Metabolism in Tieguanyin Tea Cultivar by Untargeted Metabolomics

Si Chen, Jun Lin, Huihui Liu, Zhihong Gong, Xiaxia Wang, Meihong Li, Asaph Aharoni, Zhenbiao Yang, Xiaomin Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tea plants produce extremely diverse and abundant specialized metabolites, the types and levels of which are developmentally and environmentally regulated. However, little is known about how developmental cues affect the synthesis of many of these molecules. In this study, we conducted a comparative profiling of specialized metabolites from six different tissues in a premium oolong tea cultivar, Tieguanyin, which is gaining worldwide popularity due to its uniquely rich flavors and health benefits. UPLC-QTOF MS combined with multivariate analyses tentatively identified 68 metabolites belonging to 11 metabolite classes, which exhibited sharp variations among tissues. Several metabolite classes, such as flavonoids, alkaloids, and hydroxycinnamic acid amides were detected predominantly in certain plant tissues. In particular, tricoumaroyl spermidine and dicoumaroyl putrescine were discovered as unique tea flower metabolites. This study offers novel insights into tissue-specific specialized metabolism in Tieguanyin, which provides a good reference point to explore gene-metabolite relationships in this cultivar.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1817
Number of pages22
Issue number7
StatePublished - 21 Jul 2018


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