Food Chemistry, 2021, 363, 130278.
Authors: Jiang Shi, Jesus Simal-Gandara, Jufen Mei, Wanjun Ma, Qunhua Peng, Yali Shi, Qi Xu, Zhi Lin, Haipeng Lv.
Tea cultivars possessing purple shoots have attracted global interest. In order to gain a better understanding of the major chemical constituents responsible for the purple colouration, we applied widely targeted metabolomics to investigate the pigmented flavonoids of freeze-dried purple-coloured tea leaves (PTLs) in comparison with green-coloured tea leaves (GTLs). Thirty-three anthocyanins were identified, and delphinidin 3-O-galactoside and cyanidin 3-O-galactoside were found to be the most abundant in PTLs. A total of 226 metabolites including 193 flavonoids and 33 tannins were identified, and the methylated, acylated, and glycosylated flavonoids differed significantly between PTLs and GTLs. Moreover, significant differences (p < 0.01) in the average anthocyanin, flavonoid, chlorophyll and catechin contents were also observed. Four PTLs were found to contain high levels of (-)-epigallocatechin-3-(3″-O-methyl) gallate (>10 mg/g). These results suggest that structurally modified anthocyanins and major potential co-pigmented flavonoids are the chemicals primarily responsible for the purple colouration of the tea leaves.