Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 408, Issue 28, pp 8065–8078 | Cite as

Metabolite profiling in Trigonella seeds via UPLC-MS and GC-MS analyzed using multivariate data analyses

  • Mohamed A. FaragEmail author
  • Dalia M. Rasheed
  • Matthias Kropf
  • Andreas G. Heiss
Research Paper


Trigonella foenum-graecum is a plant of considerable value for its nutritive composition as well as medicinal effects. This study aims to examine Trigonella seeds using a metabolome-based ultra-performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS) in parallel to gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) coupled with multivariate data analyses. The metabolomic differences of seeds derived from three Trigonella species, i.e., T. caerulea, T. corniculata, and T. foenum-graecum, were assessed. Under specified conditions, we were able to identify 93 metabolites including 5 peptides, 2 phenolic acids, 22 C/O-flavonoid conjugates, 26 saponins, and 9 fatty acids using UPLC-MS. Several novel dipeptides, saponins, and flavonoids were found in Trigonella herein for the first time. Samples were classified via unsupervised principal component analysis (PCA) followed by supervised orthogonal projection to latent structures-discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). A distinct separation among the investigated Trigonella species was revealed, with T. foenum-graecum samples found most enriched in apigenin-C-glycosides, viz. vicenins 1/3 and 2, compared to the other two species. In contrast to UPLC-MS, GC-MS was less efficient to classify specimens, with differences among specimens mostly attributed to fatty acyl esters. GC-MS analysis of Trigonella seed extracts led to the identification of 91 metabolites belonging mostly to fatty acyl esters, free fatty acids followed by organic acids, sugars, and amino acids. This study presents the first report on primary and secondary metabolite compositional differences among Trigonella seeds via a metabolomics approach and reveals that, among the species examined, the official T. foenum-graecum presents a better source of Trigonella secondary bioactive metabolites.


Trigonella Metabolomics C-flavonoids Chemometrics UPLC-MS GC-MS 



We are grateful for Dr. Andrea Porzel, Leibniz institute of plant biochemistry, Germany for assistance in running the NMR spectra and Ms. Asmaa Otify for reviewing the manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2016_9910_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1.8 mb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1.81 Mb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mohamed A. Farag
    • 1
    Email author
  • Dalia M. Rasheed
    • 2
  • Matthias Kropf
    • 3
  • Andreas G. Heiss
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Pharmacognosy Department, College of PharmacyCairo UniversityCairoEgypt
  2. 2.Pharmacognosy Department, Faculty of PharmacyOctober 6 UniversitySixth of October CityEgypt
  3. 3.Institute of Integrative Nature Conservation Research (INF)University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)ViennaAustria
  4. 4.Institute of BotanyUniversity for Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU)ViennaAustria
  5. 5.Vienna Institute for Archaeological Science (VIAS)University of ViennaViennaAustria

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