A 1H NMR-based metabolomics approach to evaluate the geographical authenticity of herbal medicine and its application in building a model effectively assessing the mixing proportion of intentional admixtures: A case study of Panax ginseng

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Ginseng, the root of Panax ginseng has long been the subject of adulteration, especially regarding its origins. Here, 60 ginseng samples from Korea and China initially displayed similar genetic makeup when investigated by DNA-based technique with 23 chloroplast intergenic space regions. Hence, 1H NMR-based metabolomics with orthogonal projections on the latent structure-discrimination analysis (OPLS-DA) were applied and successfully distinguished between samples from two countries using seven primary metabolites as discrimination markers. Furthermore, to recreate adulteration in reality, 21 mixed samples of numerous Korea/China ratios were tested with the newly built OPLS-DA model. The results showed satisfactory separation according to the proportion of mixing. Finally, a procedure for assessing mixing proportion of intentionally blended samples that achieved good predictability (adjusted R2 = 0.8343) was constructed, thus verifying its promising application to quality control of herbal foods by pointing out the possible mixing ratio of falsified samples.

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