The Application of NMR-based Metabolomics to Distinguish Canadian Ginseng Landraces and Species
Cultivated American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) is considered to be one of the most valuable medicinal crops in North America and top selling dietary supplements in the United States . Canada is considered one of the largest growers of American ginseng and large quantities are exported to the Asian market . Major interest has been focused on developing techniques to distinguish various ginseng landraces and ginseng species to assess quality. In this study, a fully automated 1H NMR-based metabolomics method has been developed to distinguish between five Canadian ginseng landraces and two ginseng species (P. quinquefolius and P. ginseng) . From our results, three landraces were distinguished from one another using Principal Component Analysis (PCA). Sucrose and overall ginsenoside content especially Rb1 were identified as the main metabolites causing their classification. North American P. quinquefolius was also compared with Asian P. ginseng and clear separation between the two groups was detected using PCA. An increased level of maltose and a decreased level of sucrose in the Asian ginseng compared to the North American ginseng were detected. An overall decrease of ginsenoside content especially ginsenoside Rb1 was also detected in the Asian ginseng's metabolic profile. This study demonstrates NMR-based metabolomics as a powerful high through-put technique in distinguishing various closely-related ginseng landraces and authenticating North American and Asian ginseng. The results from this study will allow better quality control standards for quality assessment and ginseng species confirmation. References:  McIntyre KL, et al. (2011) Biological Activity of Phytochemicals. Springer. New York.  Yuk J, et al. (2012) Anal Bioanal Chem (In Press).