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Open AccessArticle

Metabolomic Analysis for Compositional Differences of Bush Tea (Athrixia phylicoides DC.) Subjected to Seasonal Dynamics

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Department of Agriculture and Animal Health, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, Private Bag X6, Florida 1710, South Africa
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ARC-Roodeplaat, Vegetable and Ornamental Plant, Private Bag X293, Pretoria 0001, South Africa
3
School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of KwaZulu Natal, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg 3201, South Africa
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Agronomy 2020, 10(6), 892; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy10060892
Received: 24 May 2020 / Revised: 17 June 2020 / Accepted: 19 June 2020 / Published: 23 June 2020
Bush tea (Athrixia phylicoides DC.) is a South African indigenous herbal tea rich in secondary metabolites with medicinal significance. However, studies on the effects of seasonal changes on bush tea and quantification of its metabolites using untargeted approach have not been explored. Therefore, this study’s objective was to investigate the effects of seasonal variation on the metabolites of bush tea using LC-MS/MS (Liquid Chromatography with Tandem Mass Spectrometry) and 1H NMR (High-Resolution Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) techniques. Bush tea leaves were plucked once in each season namely, autumn (March to May), winter (June to August), spring (September to November), and summer (December to February). The primary metabolites including non-essential amino acids, organic acids, and vitamins in bush tea were predominantly elevated during summer and spring. The 1H NMR-based metabolomic analysis revealed that bush tea metabolome was strongly affected by seasonal variations, using the partial least squares-discriminant analysis (PLS-DA) which demonstrated four distinct groups of seasons. Similarly, the 1H NMR based metabolic profiling of bush tea subjected to different seasons resulted in putative annotation of six phenolic compounds which included rutin, 4-(hydroxyphenyl) propyl coumarate, caffeic acid, hymenoxin, quercetin, and kaempferol. The phenolics and primary metabolites differed remarkably per season with enhanced accumulation observed in the summer and spring harvested bush tea. The LC-MS and 1H NMR metabolomics analysis suggests that summer and spring can be recommended as preferred plucking seasons for bush tea leaves and twigs. View Full-Text
Keywords: bush tea; seasonal variation; Athrixia phylicoides; tea metabolites; phenolics bush tea; seasonal variation; Athrixia phylicoides; tea metabolites; phenolics
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Mohale, K.C.; Bodede, O.; Araya, H.T.; Mudau, F.N. Metabolomic Analysis for Compositional Differences of Bush Tea (Athrixia phylicoides DC.) Subjected to Seasonal Dynamics. Agronomy 2020, 10, 892.

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