Chemotaxonomic studies of nineParisspecies from China based on ultra-high performance liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry and Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy

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Paris species, which contain steroid saponins, have been used as herb folk medicines in Asia. In the present study, a comprehensive strategy based on liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS) and Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy was firstly proposed to evaluate the chemotaxonomic relationships of nine Paris species sampled from different geographical regions in China. Principle component analysis (PCA) based on FT-IR data revealed chemical similarities in term of the nine species and geographical regions, indicating the accumulation of metabolites affected by the combination of geographical factors and species. The chemotaxonomic relationships of four species supported the morphological taxonomy and implied ancestry from P. polyphylla. After high-efficiency chromatographic separation, ions trap/time-of-flight mass spectrometry (IT-TOFMS) and triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (QQQ-MS) were used to identify unknown metabolites and simultaneously determine six key compounds (polyphyllin I, II, V, VI, VII and gracillin) in Paris species, respectively. The tentative identification of 22 steroid saponins was indicative of a common biosynthetic pathway in Paris species. Phytoecdysones, gracillin and open-chain steroid saponins were considered as key precursors. According to Pearson's correlation analysis, an insignificant correlation was found between diosgenin-type and pennogenin-type saponins belonging to the same biosynthetic pathways in the current stage. Our results could provide a reasonable foundation for chemotaxonomy or further studies of Paris species.

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