The standardization and quality control of plant extracts is an important topic, in particular, when such extracts are used for medicinal purposes. Consequently, the development of fast and effective analytical methods for metabolomic fingerprinting of plant extracts is of high interest. In this investigation, electrospray mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and H-1 NMR techniques were employed with further statistical analyses of the acquired data. The results showed that negative ion mode ESI-MS is particularly effective for characterization of plant extracts. Different samples of the same species appear well-clustered and separated from the other species. To verify the effectiveness of the method, two other batches of extracts from a species, in which the principal components were already identified (Cynara scolymus), were analyzed, and the components that were verified by the principal component analysis (PCA) were found to be within the region identified as characteristic of Cynara Scolymus extracts. The data from extracts of the other species were well separated from those pertaining to the species previously characterized. Only the case of a species that was strictly correlated from a botanical point of view, with extracts that were previously analyzed, showed overlapping. Copyright (c) 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
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