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Int J Biomed Sci. 2016 Mar;12(1):9-24.

Peruvian Maca (Lepidium peruvianum): (II) Phytochemical Profiles of Four Prime Maca Phenotypes Grown in Two Geographically-Distant Locations.

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Faculty of Health Studies, Charles Sturt University & Therapeutic Research, TTD International Pty Ltd, 39 Leopard Ave., Elanora, QLD 4221, Australia;
Research Institute of Medicinal Plants, 27 Libelta St., 61-707 Poznan, Poland;
Faculty of Food Technology, Cracow University of Agriculture, 122 Balicka St., 30-149 Krakow, Poland;
Institute of Natural Fibres & Medicinal Plants, Wojska Polskiego 71-13, Poznan 30-630, Poland.


Peruvian Maca crops (Lepidium peruvianum), grown in two geographically-distant cultivation sites located at similar altitudes in the highlands of the Peruvian Andes (Junin at 4,200 m a.s.l. and Ancash 4,150 m a.s.l.), were used in the study. Four prime Maca phenotypes, distinguished by hypocotyl colours labelled as "Yellow", "Purple", "Red" and "Black" were selected to determine distribution in levels and corresponding ratios between individual Glucosinolates (Glucotropaeolin and m-methylglucotropaeolin) in an attempt to identify four Peruvian Maca phenotypes from analyses of powdered hypocotyls. There were highly significant differences (P<0.01) in hypocotyl weight/size of four Maca phenotypes harvested in two locations. The Junin crop represented a mostly "large" class (13.3 g) with "small" size hypocotyls (7.2 g), while a "small" class was predominant in Ancash (3.5 g). Powdered Yellow Maca showed significantly higher (P<0.001) microbial contamination than the other three, with Black Maca being the least infected. Only minor, statistically-confirmed differences were detected in nutritive characteristics between the four Maca phenotypes grown in Junin, however highly significant differences (P<0.01) in Glucosinolates existed between the Red and Black Maca grown in Junin and Ancash. Irrespective of the cultivation location, Red phenotypes showed the highest content of Total Glucosinolates, followed by Black and Purple, with the Yellow phenotype showing consistently lower levels. Highly significant P<0.01) differences determined in ratios of individual Glucosinolates between four Maca phenotypes grown in two locations, confirms an earlier assumption that sums of individual Glucosinolates, their ratios and profiles, may be feasible to explore in analytically identifying individual Maca phenotypes in pulverised marketed Maca products.


Four phenotypes; Glucosinolates; HPLC fingerprint; Lepidium peruvianum; Maca; hypocotyl colours


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