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Forensic Sci Int. 2011 Sep 10;211(1-3):51-60. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2011.04.015. Epub 2011 May 14.

Species identification of Papaver by metabolite profiling.

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Narcotics Analysis Division, National Forensic Service, Seoul, Republic of Korea.


Papaver somniferum L. and Papaver setigerum D.C. are controlled as opium poppy in Korea because they contain narcotic substances such as morphine and codeine. It is one of the critical issues whether the plants similar to opium poppy in shape are controlled plants or not. There are more than 110 species in the genus Papaver worldwide and about 10 species in Korea. As the morphological features of some species are very similar and the alkaloid contents and the ratios among the major alkaloids vary even within the same species, it is often difficult to identify the exact species by the morphological features and/or major alkaloids analysis. To develop a new method that uses metabolite profiling for species discrimination between P. somniferum, Papaver rhoeas and P. setigerum, the gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC-MS) data of the alkaline extract were processed with in-house Microsoft Visual Basic(®) modules and the chemical information was analyzed through multivariate statistical analyses such as Hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA), principal component analysis (PCA) and discriminant analysis (DA). The GC-MS results combined with multivariate analysis demonstrated that the metabolite profiling was an efficient technique for the classification and this method will provide a powerful tool for the identification of Korean Papaver species.

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