Chemical comparison and classification of Radix Astragali by determination of isoflavonoids and astragalosides

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Abstract

Eleven major isoflavonoids and three major astragalosides in the xylem and bark of cultivated Radix Astragali (RA) from different cultivated regions of China were determined by high performance liquid chromatography. The results showed that the contents of astragalosides in the bark are up to 74-fold higher than in the xylem, and that thin roots contained more astragalosides than thick roots. Although the contents of isoflavonoids varied between samples, no significant difference was observed between the isoflavonoids content of xylem and bark, or between that of thin and thick roots. It was also found that the chemical profile of isoflavonoids in the xylem and bark are related to their cultivated regions. Constituents in either xylem or bark were divided into five groups according to their chemical structures: (1) Group 1 (G1), contained calycosin and related constituents; (2) Group 2 (G2), contained ononin and related constituents; (3) Group 3 (G3), contained (6aR,11aR)-3-hydroxy-9,10-dimethoxypterocarpan and related constituents; (4) Group 4 (G4), contained (3R)-7,2′-dihydroxy-3′,4′-dimethoxyisoflavan and related constituents; and (5) Group 5 (G5), contained astragalosides, compounds AG I, AG II, and AG IV. Based on the integrated contents of constituents in each group, the cultivated region of RA was successfully distinguished by principal components analysis (PCA). Chemical constituents in RA cultivated from different regions of China were compared and it was concluded that the quality of thin RA roots is better than thick RA roots.

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