, Volume 6, Issue 2, pp 292-302,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 06 Jan 2010

1H NMR-based metabolomics combined with HPLC-PDA-MS-SPE-NMR for investigation of standardized Ginkgo biloba preparations


Commercial preparations of Ginkgo biloba are very complex mixtures prepared from raw leaf extracts by a series of extraction and prepurification steps. The pharmacological activity is attributed to a number of flavonoid glycosides and unique terpene trilactones (TTLs), with largely uncharacterized pharmacological profiles on targets involved in neurological disorders. It is therefore important to complement existing targeted analytical methods for analysis of Ginkgo biloba preparations with alternative technology platforms for their comprehensive and global characterization. In this work, 1H NMR-based metabolomics and hyphenation of high-performance liquid chromatography, photo-diode array detection, mass spectrometry, solid-phase extraction, and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (HPLC-PDA-MS-SPE-NMR) were used for investigation of 16 commercially available preparations of Ginkgo biloba. The standardized extracts originated from Denmark, Italy, Sweden, and United Kingdom, and the results show that 1H NMR spectra allow simultaneous assessment of the content as well as identity of flavonoid glycosides and TTLs based on a very simple sample-preparation procedure consisting of extraction, evaporation and reconstitution in acetone-d 6. Unexpected or unwanted extract constituents were also easily identified in the 1H NMR spectra, which contrasts traditional methods that depend on UV absorption or MS ionizability and usually require availability of reference standards. Automated integration of 1H NMR spectral segments (buckets or bins of 0.02 ppm width) provides relative distribution plots of TTLs based on their H-12 resonances. The present study shows that 1H NMR-based metabolomics is an attractive method for non-selective and comprehensive analysis of Ginkgo extracts.