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PLoS One. 2016 Jan 11;11(1):e0146607. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0146607. eCollection 2016.

Metabolic Analysis of Medicinal Dendrobium officinale and Dendrobium huoshanense during Different Growth Years.

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Department of Life Sciences, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei, 230036, China.


Metabolomics technology has enabled an important method for the identification and quality control of Traditional Chinese Medical materials. In this study, we isolated metabolites from cultivated Dendrobium officinale and Dendrobium huoshanense stems of different growth years in the methanol/water phase and identified them using gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry (GC-MS). First, a metabolomics technology platform for Dendrobium was constructed. The metabolites in the Dendrobium methanol/water phase were mainly sugars and glycosides, amino acids, organic acids, alcohols. D. officinale and D. huoshanense and their growth years were distinguished by cluster analysis in combination with multivariate statistical analysis, including principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). Eleven metabolites that contributed significantly to this differentiation were subjected to t-tests (P<0.05) to identify biomarkers that discriminate between D. officinale and D. huoshanense, including sucrose, glucose, galactose, succinate, fructose, hexadecanoate, oleanitrile, myo-inositol, and glycerol. Metabolic profiling of the chemical compositions of Dendrobium species revealed that the polysaccharide content of D. huoshanense was higher than that of D. officinale, indicating that the D. huoshanense was of higher quality. Based on the accumulation of Dendrobium metabolites, the optimal harvest time for Dendrobium was in the third year. This initial metabolic profiling platform for Dendrobium provides an important foundation for the further study of secondary metabolites (pharmaceutical active ingredients) and metabolic pathways.

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