A direct ionization mass spectrometry-based approach for differentiation of medicinal Ephedra species

Gui Zhong Xin, Bin Hu, Zi Qi Shi, Jia Yi Zheng, Li Wang, Wen Qi Chang, Ping Li, Zhongping Yao, Li Fang Liu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Herein, rapid and efficient identification of species of medicinal Ephedrae Herba was performed using DI-MS (direct ionization-mass spectrometry)-based metabolomics analysis. As a direct ionization technique, DI-MS can provide rapid analysis of samples without sample preparation, so it has been advantageously applied to high-throughput metabolomics analysis. In this flow chart, the MS fingerprints of Ephedrae Herba samples obtained by DI-MS method were firstly pretreated by background subtracts, smooth and center procedures to extract MS features. Then, these MS features were aligned using in a house program written in MATLAB to produce MS dataset. After that, PCA and PLS-DA analysis were performed based on the obtained MS dataset. Finally, the parameter VIP (Variable importance in the Projection) was employed to screen the valuable MS features for discrimination. Using such an approach, three medicinal species of Ephedrae Herba, Ephedra sinica, Ephedra intermedia, and Ephedra equisetina., had been successfully differentiated. Additionally, this method has also been applied to identify the changes in components of Ephedrae Herba after honey treated. In present study, DI-MS in combination with metabolomics was shown to be an efficient and accurate way to identify the sources of herbs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)492-498
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2016


  • Direct ionization-mass spectrometry
  • Ephedrae Herba
  • Herbal discrimination
  • High throughput
  • Metabolomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Spectroscopy
  • Clinical Biochemistry

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