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Analytica Chimica Acta
Volume 1056, 2019, Pages 62-69

Cultivar differentiation of Citri Reticulatae Pericarpium by a combination of hierarchical three-step filtering metabolomics analysis, DNA barcoding and electronic nose

Shang-Zhen Lia, Su-Ling Zenga, Yan Wua, Guo-Dong Zhengb, Chu Chuc, Qiang Yind, Bai-Zhong Chene, Ping Lia, Xu Lua, E-Hu Liua

State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, School of Traditional Chinese Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University, No. 24 Tongjia Lane, Nanjing, 210009, China.


The traditional Chinese medicine Citri Reticulatae Pericarpium (CRP) was mainly originated from the dried pericarp of Citrus reticulata ‘Chachi’ (Crc), Citrus reticulata ‘Dahongpao’ (Crd), Citrus reticulata ‘Unshiu’ (Cru) and Citrus reticulata ‘Tangerina’ (Crt) in China. Since these four cultivars have great similarities in morphology, reliable methods to differentiate CRP cultivars have rarely been reported. To discriminate the differences of these CRP cultivars, herein an efficient and reliable method by combining metabolomics, DNA barcoding and electronic nose was first established. The hierarchical three-step filtering metabolomics analysis based on liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-QTOF-MS) indicated that 9 species-specific chemical markers including 6 flavanone glycosides and 3 polymethoxyflavones could be considered as marker metabolites for discrimination of the geoherb Crc from other cultivars. A total of 19 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) sites were found in nuclear internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2) of CRP, and three stable SNP sites (33, 128 and 174) in the ITS2 region can distinguish the four CRP cultivars. The electronic nose coupled with chemometrics could also be used to effectively distinguish Crc from other CRP cultivars. Therefore, our results indicated that the integrated method will be an effective strategy for discrimination of similar herbal medicines.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Citri Reticulatae Pericarpium, Metabolomics, DNA barcoding, Electronic nose.

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