Positive contributions of the stem to the formation of white tea quality-related metabolites during withering

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Food Chem. 2024 Apr 8;449:139173. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2024.139173. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Most teas, including white tea, are produced from tender shoots containing both leaf and stem. However, the effect of the stem on white tea quality remains unclear, especially during withering, an essential process. Therefore, this study investigated the withering-induced changes in the leaves and stems of Camellia sinensis cv. ‘Fudingdabai’ by multi-group analysis. During withering, the levels of catechin and theobromine (i.e., major flavor-related compounds) decreased slightly, mainly in the leaves. The abundance of some proteinaceous amino acids related to fresh taste increased in stems due to increased protein hydrolysis. In addition, changes in biosynthetic pathways caused a decrease in theanine (a major non-proteinaceous amino acid) and an increase in gamma-aminobutyric acid in stems. Terpenes, mainly in the stems, were partially affected by withering. Phenylacetaldehyde, a major contributor to white tea aroma, increased mainly in the stems. These findings reflect the positive contribution of the stem to white tea quality.

PMID:38593722 | DOI:10.1016/j.foodchem.2024.139173