Metabolic Biochemistry of Functional Food Group

Research Areas

Research in the Tian group at Chenshan Botanical Garden is focused on understanding the regulatory control of hydrolyzable tannin metabolism in pomegranate using molecular, biochemical, genetic and omics approaches. Our long term goal is apply this knowledge to improving the nutritional value of pomegranate as functional food.

Current research topics include:

  1. Elucidating the regulatory architecture of hydrolyzable tannin accumulation in pomegranate.

  2. Establishing the transformation platform for functional characterization of candidate genes in pomegranate.

  3. Cataloging and discovering novel secondary/specialized metabolites in pomegranate tissues.

Principal Investigator (PI)
Li Tian, Ph D., Professor
Address: Shanghai Chenshan Plant Science Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences / Chenshan Botanical Garden, 3888 Chenhua Road, Songjiang Shanghai 201602 China

Lijing Chang
Ph.D., Research Assistan
Sheng Wu
Ph.D., Research Assistan
Weiqing Wang
M.S., Research Assistant

  1. Tian, L., Hu, Y.H. and Chen, X.-Y. Advancing human health through exploration of plant metabolism and reaping the benefits of edible medicinal plants. Molecular Plant. 2017. 10, 533-536. 

  2. Yu, S. and Tian, L. Breeding major cereal grains through the lens of nutrition sensitivity. Molecular Plant.  2017.

  3. Wilson, A.E., Feng, X., Ono, N.N., Holland, D., Amir, R. and Tian, L.Characterization of a UGT84 family glycosyltransferase provides new insights into substrate binding and reactivity of galloylglucose ester-forming UGTs. Biochemistry. 2017.56: 6389-6400.

  4. Wu, S. and Tian, L. Diverse phytochemicals and bioactivities in the ancient fruit and modern functional food pomegranate (Punica granatum).Molecules. 2017.22:1606.

  5. Tian, L., Hu, Y.H. and Chen, X.-Y. Advancing human health through exploration of plant metabolism and reaping the benefits of edible medicinal plants. Molecular Plant. 2017.10: 533-536,

  6. Wilson, A.E., Hosea, M. and Tian, L. Glucose ester enabled acylation in plant specialized metabolism.Phytochemistry Reviews. 2016.15: 1057-1074..

  7. Ono, N.N., Qin, X., Wilson, A.E., Li, G. and Tian, L.Two UGT84 family glycosyltransferases catalyze a critical reaction of hydrolyzable tannin biosynthesis in pomegranate (Punica granatum). PLOS ONE .2016.11(5): e0156319..

  8. Tian, L.  Using hairy roots for production of valuable plant secondary metabolites. Advances in Biochemical Engineering, Biotechnology. 2015.149, 275-324.

  9. Ono, N.N., Bandaranayake, P.C.G. and Tian, L.Establishment of pomegranate (Punica granatum) hairy root cultures for genetic interrogation of the hydrolyzable tannin biosynthetic pathway. Planta. 2012.236, 931-941.

  10. Ono, N.N., Britton, M.T., Fass, J.N., Nicolet, C.M., Lin, D.W. and Tian, L. Exploring the transcriptome landscape of pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit peel for natural product biosynthetic gene and SSR marker discovery.  Journal of Integrative Plant Biology. 2011.53, 800-813.

  11. Ono, N.N. and Tian, L. The multiplicity of hairy root cultures: prolific possibilities. Plant Science .2011.180, 439-446.