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Novel insight into the role of withering process in characteristic flavor formation of teas using transcriptome analysis and metabolite profiling

Wang, Yu, Zheng, Peng-Cheng, Liu, Pan-Pan, Song, Xiao-Wei, Guo, Fei, Li, Ye-Yun, Ni, De-Jiang, Jiang, Chang-Jun
Food chemistry 2019 v.272 pp. 313-322
alpha-linolenic acid, biosynthesis, flavanols, flavor, flavor compounds, genes, leaves, manufacturing, metabolites, tea, terpenoids, transcription (genetics), transcriptome, transcriptomics, water content
Withering is an indispensable process for improving flavors in green, black and white teas during their manufacturing. The effects of the withering process on the formation of tea flavors were investigated using transcriptome and metabolite profiling in withered tea leaves. A total of 3268, 23,282 and 25,185 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified at 3 h (68%, water content), 12 h (61%) and 24 h (48%) of the withering process, respectively. The DEGs, involved in flavonoid biosynthesis were significantly downregulated, which could be correlated with the reduction of catechins. Enhancement of terpenoids and alpha-linolenic acid metabolism could trigger an increase in the total content and number of volatiles. The increase in free amino acid-content could be related to 261 DEGs. Our study suggests that dehydration stress during withering induced significant changes in the gene transcription and content of the tea flavor compounds, which promoted the special flavors in various teas.