Life

Effects of water availability and pest pressures on tea (Camellia sinensis) growth and functional quality

Tea quality is notably impacted by climate variables such as the East Asian Monsoon. This images shows tea plants during the onset of the East Asian monsoon on southwestern China.  Photo credit: Selena Ahmed
Tea quality is notably impacted by climate variables such as the East Asian Monsoon. This images shows tea plants during the onset of the East Asian monsoon on southwestern China.
Photo credit: Selena Ahmed

Extreme shifts in water availability linked to global climate change are impacting crops worldwide. In a recent study published in AoB PLANTS, Ahmed et al. examine the effects of water availability and pest pressures on the growth and functional quality of tea, the world’s most consumed beverage after water. They show that higher water availability and pest pressures significantly increased the growth of new leaves while their effect on tea quality varied with individual secondary metabolites. Their findings point to the fascinating dynamics of climate change effects on tea plants with offsetting interactions between rainfall and pest pressures, and the need for future climate studies to examine interactive environmental effects.

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