Metabolic profiling of Piper species by direct analysis using real time mass spectrometry combined with principal component analysis†
Piper nigrum (black pepper), Piper longum (Indian tipali) and Piper chaba (Bangla tipali) are widely used medicinal herbs in traditional Indian systems of medicine. P. longum as well as P. chaba are considered to be inferior substitutes of P. nigrum. A rapid analytical method for metabolic profiling was developed to generate chemical fingerprints as an alternative means to the only available morphological basis for the identification of these species. Direct analysis using real time mass spectrometry was applied to generate the chemical fingerprints of various parts viz. fruit, leaf and root of these Piper species followed by multivariate analysis for discrimination. Principal component analysis of DARTMS data served as a reliable method for species identification. Phytochemical analysis showed the presence mainly of alkaloids in various parts of Piper species. The results showed that different Piper species could be successfully differentiated using DARTMS fingerprinting together with principal component analysis and this method is promising for the rapid identification and quality control of Piper species.