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J Chromatogr A. 2008 Sep 26;1205(1-2):117-27. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2008.07.078. Epub 2008 Jul 31.

Application and exploration of fast gas chromatography-surface acoustic wave sensor to the analysis of thymus species.

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College of Pharmacy, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, South Korea.


Fast gas chromatography combined with surface acoustic wave sensor (GC/SAW) has been applied for the detection of volatile aroma compounds emanated from thymus medicinal plants such as T. quinquecostotus (Jeju and Mt. Gaya in South Korea), T. quinquecostotus var. japonica (Ulreung island in South Korea), T. mongolicus (Northeastern Asia), and T. serpyllum (Europe). The GC/SAW involving the fragrance pattern analysis provides a novel analytical method with a very fast separation and characterization of aromas caused by the delicate difference of chemical composition according to botanical and geographical origin. On the comparison of experiments, the characteristic components and analytical tendency for air-dried thymus species detected by GC/SAW appear to be quite similar to those obtained by headspace solid-phase microextraction (HS-SPME)-GC-MS, but the abundance ratios between these two methods are different. In addition to that, the discrimination of various thymus species by using VaporPrint image based on GC/SAW provides a quite reliable result. On the basis of principal component analysis (PCA) results, the ability for classification among species of completely different chemotypes by HS-SPME-GC-MS is good enough, but the classification of same chemotypes species which are from different geographical origin in same country, original species and its variety, an air-drying term for 13 days and 16 months appear much lower than GC/SAW. Interestingly, the present experiment reveals that the air-drying term influences the aroma composition: the concentration of the pharmacologically active species, monoterpene phenol (thymol), reaches its highest concentrations after it was dried for 5 days or 13 days, which is much higher than in fresh or over-dried for a long times.

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