Research Corner: Interesting Journal Articles

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Sun May 27, 2018 3:42 am

Study about the difference of chemical composition in tea brewed with different pots.
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Fri Aug 10, 2018 9:22 am

Li X, Wei JP, Ahammed GJ, Zhang L, Li Y, Yan P, Zhang LP, Han WY. Brassinosteroids Attenuate Moderate High Temperature-Caused Decline in Tea Quality by Enhancing Theanine Biosynthesis in Camellia sinensis L.. Front Plant Sci. 2018 Jul 24;9:1016. doi: 10.3389/fpls.2018.01016. eCollection 2018.

Study about L-theanine (umami flavor in green tea and bioactive compound of questionable clinical utility) declining in green tea leaves during hot temperatures. They actually set up this aspect of the paper quite nicely. Although it was been proven elsewhere, this paper puts previous findings to use in a very succinct way.

This graph shows theanine concentration of leaves as a function of time during exposure to hot temperature (defined as >35C) in the leaves of a cultivar of long jing.


The point of this paper is to find a compound that inhibits that temperature-related decline in theanine concentrations. They found a plant-steroid -- 24-epibrassinolide -- which acts as a stress-hormone for plants, and showed that pre-treatment with this steroid could mostly reverse the decline in theanine concentration. They tried to show that it was due to change in transcription of some of the upstream genes in the stress pathway that lead to theanine synthesis, but I don't put too much stock in these aspects of any study without a more robust mechanistic description. It's like painting flames on the side of your car and claiming that makes it faster -- adding these to the study does not make this a better study.

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