HPLC-UV Analysis Coupled with Chemometry to Identify Phenolic Biomarkers from Medicinal Plants, used as Ingredients in Two Food Supplement Formulas

Raluca Maria Pop, Florina Csernatoni, Floricuta Ranga, Florinela Fetea, Carmen Socaciu


. High performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with UV detection is nowadays the reference method to identify and quantify the biomarkers of quality and authenticity of plants and food supplements. Seven medicinal plants were collected from wild flora: Taraxacum officinalis (1), Cynara scolimus (2), Silybum marianum (3), Hypericum perforatum (4),  Chelidonium majus (5), Lycopodium clavatum (6) and  Hippophae rhamnoides (7)  leaves and fruits.  Two products (A and B) were obtained by mixing individual plant powders. Therefore product A was obtained by mixing dandelion, artichoke and milk thistle, 1:1:1 while product B by mixing St John’s wort, Celandine and Wolf’s claw, 1:1:1. The methanolic extracts of individual plants as well as three different extracts of products A and B (using acidulated water, neutral water and acidulated methanol) were analyzed using HPLC-UV for their phenolics’ fingerprint and composition.

The qualitative (untargeted analysis) and quantitative (targeted analysis) results were further compared using Principal Component Analysis (PCA) in order to identify their specific biomarkers. Thus, quantitative evaluation of individual phenolics in case of individual plants and products A and B extracts, showed specific and significant differences of composition. Both products A and B contained elagic acid as major compound. For product A, good biomarkers were trans-cinnamic, chlorogenic, caffeic and p-coumaric acids, as well silymarin and silibine originating from milk thistle. For product B, good biomarkers were quercetin and kaempherol, gallic and protocatecuic acids, this product being rich in flavonoids.

In conclusion, HPLC-UV coupled with PCA analysis proved to be a rapid and useful way to identify the main biomarkers of plants’ authentication, as well of final products’ quality and safety.


medicinal plants, herbal supplements, HPLC fingerprint, Principal Component Analysis

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15835/buasvmcn-fst:9247


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