UPLC-MS-based metabolomics analysis reveals metabolite compositional differences between Kenyan Commercial and NonCommercial black tea (Camellia sinensis L.) cultivars.

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Apostolides, Z.
Koech, R.
Kamunya, S
Mose, R.
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Camellia sinensis (L.) O. Kuntze (tea) is one of the most widely consumed beverages worldwide, serving as an essential commodity crop for several developing countries. A bulk of tea’s health-promoting properties are attributed to the antioxidant properties of Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCg), its predominant polyphenol. As a result of these health benefits, tea production and consumption have expanded and promoted tea industries’ development globally. Tea cultivation is dependent on a good distribution of rainfall, and the current changes in climate pose a significant threat to its global supply chains. Through the efforts of the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), predictions of future climate changes in the tea growing regions of Kenya between now and 2050 have been generated. A study was conducted to develop models to identify essential tea growing regions that will remain ideal for tea farming and investigate the metabolomic differences between 243 droughts susceptible NonCommercial (NComm) and 60 Commercial (Comm) cultivars. Non-targeted, high-resolution UPLC-MS was used to attain a new profound understanding of the metabolomic multiplicity between the Comm and NComm groups and elucidate their association with tea liquor quality and drought tolerance. Several metabolites, namely argininosuccinate, caffeic acid, caffeine, catechin, citric acid, epicatechin, epigallocatechin gallate, gallic acid, gluconic acid, glucose, maltose, quercetin and theanine, were found to differentiate between the Comm and NComm cultivars. These detected metabolites were linked to improved tea quality and drought tolerance in the Comm cultivars.
Natural Resources for Human Health, 1 (1), p. 19-29