Improving quality control of yucca extracts used as food additives by screening antimicrobial activity using NMR metabolomics

  • Ryuichiro SuzukiEmail author
  • Hirokazu Ohno
  • Toshiyuki Murakami
  • Yoshiaki Shirataki


Yucca schidigera is mainly distributed in southwestern US and the northern desert of Mexico. Its extract is widely used as a food additive for its antimicrobial activity. However, this antimicrobial activity is subject to significant variability across production lots. Yucca extracts are natural products and their composition is affected by their cultivation area and weather. Manufacturer deal with natural products such as food additives pay particularly close attention to quality control. In the present study, NMR metabolomics methods were used to screen the antimicrobial activity of yucca extracts. Yucca extracts were subjected to principal component analysis (PCA) and categorized on a score plot of their 1H NMR spectral data according to their antimicrobial activity. Furthermore, hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) was also used to classify yucca extracts based on their antimicrobial activity. Classification using PCA and HCA was dependent upon saponin content, particularly that of schidigera-saponin A1 and D1, which was further confirmed by HPLC analysis of the yucca extracts. We demonstrated that NMR-based metabolomics is a potentially useful tool to use in combination with conventional quality control methods for yucca extracts used as food additives. We envisage this method as tool for initially screening the extracts prior to carrying out the officially recommended quality control tests.


Yucca schidigera NMR metabolomics Antimicrobial activity Schidigera-saponins A1 and D1 



The authors are grateful to Dr. K. Takayama for his suggestion about statistical analysis at Josai University.


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Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Pharmacognosy 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical SciencesJosai UniversitySakadoJapan
  2. 2.Maruzen Pharmaceuticals Co., LTD.OnomichiJapan

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