Chemical composition of fennel seed extract and determination of fenchone in commercial formulations by GC–MS method

  • Prawez Alam
  • Maged S. Abdel-Kader
  • Mohammed H. Alqarni
  • Hala H. Zaatout
  • Syed Rizwan Ahamad
  • Faiyaz ShakeelEmail author
Original Article


In the present study, various phytoconstituents of methanolic extract of Foeniculum vulgare were identified using gas-chromatography mass spectrometry (GC–MS) method. GC–MS method was also applied for the analysis of biomarker fenchone in extract and eight different commercial formulations. The mass of prepared extract and formulations A–D and H (commercial herbal mixtures and commercial extract) used for the analysis of fenchone was 10 g. However, the mass of formulations E–G (soft gelatin capsules) was 100 mg. Fifty seven different phytoconstituents were identified in the methanolic extract of F. vulgare using GC–MS technique. The main compounds identified were trans-anethole (31.49%), 2-pentanone (25.01%), fenchone (11.68%) and benzaldehyde-4-methoxy (8.01%). Several other compounds were also identified in higher amounts and some compounds were identified in trace amounts. Many compounds have been reported for the first time in the methanolic extract of F. vulgare. The amount of fenchone was found to be maximum in plant extract (9.789 mg/g) in comparison with other commercial formulations by the proposed GC–MS technique. In three different commercial formulations (F, G and H), the amount of fenchone was obtained as more than 1.0 mg/g. However, in five different commercial formulations (A, B, C, D and E), the amount of fenchone was recorded as less than 0.1 mg/g. This method could be utilized for the analysis of fenchone contents in the commercial formulations containing fenchone as an active ingredient. The results obtained in this work could be useful in standardization of commercial formulations containing fenchone.


Fenchone Foeniculum vulgare Gas-chromatography mass-spectrometer Phytoconstituents Standardization 



This project was financially supported by King Saud University, Vice Deanship of Research Chairs, Kayyali Chair for Pharmaceutical industry through the Grant Number FN-2018.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest associated with this manuscript.

Supplementary material

13197_2019_3695_MOESM1_ESM.docx (107 kb)
This article contains supplementary information which can be found online. Figure S1 shows F. vulgare Mill. in its natural habitat conditions. Figure S2 presents chemical structure of fenchone (DOCX 107 kb)


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Copyright information

© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacognosy, College of PharmacyPrince Sattam Bin Abdulaziz UniversityAl-KharjSaudi Arabia
  2. 2.Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of PharmacyAlexandria UniversityAlexandriaEgypt
  3. 3.Central Laboratory, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Research Center, College of PharmacyKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia
  4. 4.Kayyali Chair for Pharmaceutical Industries, Department of Pharmaceutics, College of PharmacyKing Saud UniversityRiyadhSaudi Arabia

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