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Journal of Zhejiang University (Agriculture and Life Sciences)  2023, Vol. 49 Issue (6): 825-839    DOI: 10.3785/j.issn.1008-9209.2022.10.091
Food sciences     
Analysis of differential metabolites between ‘Zijuan’ and ‘Yingshuang’ tea flowers based on widely targeted metabolomics combined with high performance liquid chromatography
Wan ZHU1(),Ying WU2(),Xiaoxiang LI1,Longjie ZHANG3,Yuerong LIANG1,Jianliang LU1,Xinqiang ZHENG1()
1.Tea Research Institute, College of Agriculture and Biotechnology, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310058, China
2.Agricultural Technology Management and Service Station of Haishu District in Ningbo, Ningbo 315012, Zhejiang, China
3.Ningbo Huangjinyun Tea Science and Technology Co. , Ltd. , Ningbo 315412, Zhejiang, China
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To explore the differences in flavor between flowers of ‘Zijuan’ and ‘Yingshuang’ tea varieties, the abundance of non-volatile metabolites in two light fermented tea flowers was tested, and the metabolites identified via widely targeted metabolomic technology based on ultra-high performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS). The evaluation factors were evaluated by tea sensory evaluation methods and the contents of taste components, such as catechins and flavonoids, were detected by high performance liquid chromatography and colorimetric method. The results showed that ‘Zijuan’ tea flowers tasted sweet and fresh, and a little bitter and slightly astringent, while ‘Yingshuang’ tea flowers tasted sweet, slightly bitter and a little astringent. There were 219 kinds of significantly differential metabolites, including phenolic acids (56 kinds), flavonoids (46 kinds), lipids (26 kinds), tannins (19 kinds), amino acids and their derivatives (17 kinds) and others between the two varieties. Furthermore, metabolic pathway annotations revealed that amino acid-related metabolic pathways and flavone and flavonol metabolism pathways were the main differential metabolic pathways between ‘Zijuan’ and ‘Yingshuang’ tea flowers. In addition, the total contents of flavonoids and anthocyanins and the contents of catechins and some alkaloids between ‘Zijuan’ and ‘Yingshuang’ tea flowers were significantly different (P<0.05), while the differences in the soluble sugar contents were not significant. The above results preliminarily showed that the flavonoids made the taste of tea flowers had a certain degree of bitterness and astringency, while compared with those in ‘Yingshuang’, the increase of contents of some amino acids and their derivatives in ‘Zijuan’ tea flowers was the main reason for its fresh taste.

Key wordstea flowers      widely targeted metabolomics      ‘Zijuan’      ‘Yingshuang’      differential metabolites     
Received: 09 October 2022      Published: 25 December 2023
CLC:  TS272.5  
Corresponding Authors: Xinqiang ZHENG     E-mail:;;
Cite this article:

Wan ZHU,Ying WU,Xiaoxiang LI,Longjie ZHANG,Yuerong LIANG,Jianliang LU,Xinqiang ZHENG. Analysis of differential metabolites between ‘Zijuan’ and ‘Yingshuang’ tea flowers based on widely targeted metabolomics combined with high performance liquid chromatography. Journal of Zhejiang University (Agriculture and Life Sciences), 2023, 49(6): 825-839.

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关键词: 茶树花,  广泛靶向代谢组学,  ‘紫娟’,  ‘迎霜’,  差异代谢物 






Infused leaves


Infusion color













Table 1 Sensory evaluation results of ZJF and YSF
Fig. 1 TIC overlap map of quality control samplesA. Positive ion mode; B. Negative ion mode.








Cumulative contribution




Proportion of variance/%

Table 2 PCA results for metabolites in ZJF and YSF
Fig. 2 Categories of metabolites identified from ZJF and YSFThe data in parentheses refer to the percentage of the number of certain metabolites to the 897 identified metabolites.
Fig. 3 Multivariate statistical analysis results of metabolites in ZJF and YSFA. Score plot of PCA; B. Model plot of OPLS-DA.
Fig. 4 Maps of significantly differential metabolites between ZJF and YSFA. Clustering tree of significantly differential metabolites; B. Volcano plot of significantly differential metabolites. The color scale in the legend is the value obtained by standardizing the response value (relative content) of metabolites from -1.5 to 1.5 (the red color indicates the up-regulation of relative content of metabolites, and the green color indicates the down-regulation of relative content of metabolites).
Fig. 5 Pie chart of 219 significantly differential metabolites between ZJF and YSFThe data in parentheses refer to the percentage of the number of certain differential metabolites to the 219 significantly differential metabolites between ZJF and YSF.
Fig. 6 KEGG pathway enrichment diagram of significantly differential metabolites between ZJF and YSFRich factor indicates the ratio of the number of differentially expressed metabolites in the corresponding pathway to the total number of metabolites annotated by the pathway.
Fig. 7 Main taste differential metabolites between YSF and ZJFA. Flavonoids; B. Amino acids and their derivatives; C. Phenolic acids; D. Tannins. The color scale in the legend is the value obtained by standardizing the response value (relative content) of metabolites from 0 to 1.
化学组分 Chemical componentZJFYSF
非酯型儿茶素 Non-ester catechins/(mg/g)25.39±0.30a18.96±0.20b
酯型儿茶素 Ester catechins/(mg/g)29.52±0.76b59.87±3.65a
酯型儿茶素/非酯型儿茶素比值 Ratio of ester catechins to non-ester catechins1.16±0.02b3.16±0.16a
可可碱 Theobromine/(mg/g)0.16±0.00b0.28±0.01a
茶碱 Theophylline/(mg/g)0.21±0.00a0.18±0.01b
咖啡碱 Caffeine/(mg/g)8.88±0.19a8.63±0.68a
黄酮类 Flavonoids/(mg/g)111.89±7.39a79.90±2.43b
可溶性糖 Soluble sugar/(mg/g)264.36±16.86a274.22±4.43a
花青素 Anthocyanin/(μmol/g)152.51±6.38a132.64±1.52b
Table 3 Contents of taste chemical components in ZJF and YSF
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