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Food Chemistry
Vol. 186, 2015, Pages: 176–184

Investigation on biochemical compositional changes during the microbial fermentation process of Fu brick tea by LC–MS based metabolomics

Jie Xu, Feng-Lin Hu, Wei Wang, Xiao-Chun Wan, Guan-Hu Bao

Anhui Agricultural University, 130 West Changjiang Road, Hefei City, Anhui Province 230036, China.


Fu brick tea (FBT) is a unique post-fermented tea product which is fermented with fungi during the manufacturing process. In this study, we investigated the biochemical compositional changes occurring during the microbial fermentation process (MFP) of FBT based on non-targeted LC–MS, which was a comprehensive and unbiased methodology. Our data analysis took a two-phase approach: (1) comparison of FBT with other tea products using PCA analysis to exhibit the characteristic effect of MFP on the formation of Fu brick tea and (2) comparison of tea samples throughout the MFP of FBT to elucidate the possible key metabolic pathways produced by the fungi. Non-targeted LC–MS analysis clearly distinguished FBT with other tea samples and highlighted some interesting metabolic pathways during the MFP including B ring fission catechin. Our study demonstrated that those fungi had a significant influence on the biochemical profiles in the FBT and consequently contributed to its unique quality.

Keywords: Fu brick tea; Microbial fermentation process; Non-targeted LC–MS; Biochemical compositional changes.

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