Skip to main content
Log in

Quality Evaluation of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) Based on HPLC and LC-MS Analysis of its Glucosinolates from Roots

  • Published:
Food Analytical Methods Aims and scope Submit manuscript


In order to evaluate the quality of maca samples, 15 batches of maca hypocotyls from different geographical origins were analyzed by using HPLC and liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS). Their glucosinolates (GLs) were identified, profiled, and quantified. Three aromatic GLs, glucosinalbin (GSB), glucotropaeolin (GTL), and glucolimnanthin (GLH), were identified from maca roots. It was found that the HPLC profiles of maca samples showed a similar qualitative pattern except for some differences in their contents. The amount ranges (μmol g−1, DW) of GSB, GTL, and GLH were 2.62–5.55, 12.99–57.12, and 3.15–12.12, respectively. Furthermore, a HCA (hierarchical clustering analysis) was used to classify the quality of maca samples according to their cultivated sources and GLs contents. The results showed that the combination of GSB, GTL, and GLH could be a marker for accurate determination and quality control of maca samples. It was concluded that the multi-component analysis in combination with HCA could be a supplement to assess the quality of maca materials.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3.
Fig. 4

Similar content being viewed by others


  • AOAC (1998) Official methods of analysis, 16th edn. Association of Official Analytical Chemists, Washington DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Chen JJ, Zhao QS, Liu YL, Zha SH, Zhao B (2015) Identification of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp.) and its adulterants by a DNA-barcoding approach based on the ITS sequence. Chin J Nat Medicines 13:653–659. doi:10.1016/S1875-5364(15)30062-5

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Chen J, Xia C, Zhu Y, Bai F (2016) Nutritional compositions of maca grown in Ebian and HPLC fingerprints of macaene and macamide. Agr Sci Tech 17:947–950

    Google Scholar 

  • China Business News 2014 High maca prices promoted its cultivation scale in Peru. Accessed 24 Dec 2014

  • Clément C, Diaz DA, Manrique I, Avula B, Khan IA, Ponce-Aguirre DD, Kunz C, Mayer AC, Kreuzer M (2010a) Secondary metabolites in maca as affected by hypocotyl color, cultivation history, and site. Agron J 102:431–439. doi:10.2134/agronj2009.0315

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Clément C, Grados DAD, Avula B, Khan IA, Mayer AC, Ponce-Aguirre DD, Manrique I, Kreuzer M (2010b) Influence of colour type and previous cultivation on secondary metabolites in hypocotyls and leaves of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walpers). J Sci Food Agr 90:861–869. doi:10.1002/jsfa.3896

    Google Scholar 

  • Dini A, Migliuolo G, Rastrelli L, Saturnino P, Schettino O (1994) Chemical composition of Lepidium meyenii. Food Chem 49:347–349. doi:10.1016/0308-8146(94)90003-5

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Dini I, Terone GC, Dini A (2002) Glucosinolates from maca (Lepidium meyenii). Biochem Syst Ecol 30:1087–1090. doi:10.1016/S0305-1978(02)00058-3

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Fahey JW, Zalcmann AT, Talalay P (2001) The chemical diversity and distribution of glucosinolates and isothiocyanates among plants. Phytochemistry 56:5–51. doi:10.1002/chin.200110286

  • Flores HE, Walker TS, Guimarães RL, Harsh P, Bais JM (2003) Andean root and tuber crops: underground rainbows. Hortscience 38:161–167

    Google Scholar 

  • Ganzera M, Zhao JP, Muhammad I, Khan IA (2002) Chemical profiling and standardization of Lepidium meyenii (maca) by reversed phase high performance liquid chromatography. Chem Pharm Bull 50:988–991. doi:10.1089/109264201750539673

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Gonzales GF, Miranda S, Nieto J, Fernández G, Yucra S, Rubio J, Yi P, Gasco M (2005) Red maca (Lepidium meyenii) reduce prostate size in rats. Reprod Biol Endocrin 3:87–95. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-3-5

    Google Scholar 

  • Gonzales C, Rubio J, Gasco M, Nieto J, Yucra S, Gonzales GF (2006) Effect of short-term and long-term treatments with three ecotypes of Lepidium meyenii (maca) on spermatogenesis in rats. J Ethnopharmacol 103:448–454. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.08.035

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gonzales GF, Villaorduna L, Gasco M, Rubio J, Gonzales C (2014) Maca (Lepidium meyeni Walp), a review of its biological properties. Rev Peru Med Exp Salud Pública 31:100–110

    Google Scholar 

  • Hajdu Z, Lorántfy L, Jedlinszki N, Boros K, Hohmann J, Csupor D (2015) Quality control of maca-containing (Lepidium meyenii Walp.) dietary supplements. Acta Aliment Hung 44:461–467. doi:10.1556/066.2015.44.0018

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Hogge LR, Reed DW, Underhill EW (1988) HPLC separation of glucosinolates from leaves and seeds of Arabidopsis thaliana and their identification using thermospray liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr Sci 26:551–556. doi:10.1093/chromsci/26.11.551

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Jin WW, Xiong Y, Yu LJ (2006) Identification and quality evaluation of Lepidium meyenii. (Maca) based on gas chromatographic analysis of its essential oils from roots. Agr Sci Tech 7:2–9

    Google Scholar 

  • Johns T (1981) The anu and the maca. J Ethnobiology 1:208–212

    Google Scholar 

  • Li G, Ammermann U, Quirós CF (2001) Glucosinolate contents in maca (Lepidium peruvianum Chacon) seeds, sprouts, mature plants and several derived commercial products. Econ Bot 55:255–262. doi:10.1007/BF02864563

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Matthäus B, Luftmann H (2000) Glucosinolates in members of the family brassicaceae: separation and identification by LC/ESI-MS-MS. J Agr Food Chem 48:2234–2239. doi:10.1021/jf991306w

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meissner HO, Mscisz A, Kedzia B, Pisulewski P, Piatkowska E (2015a) Peruvian maca: two scientific names Lepidium meyenii Walpers and Lepidium peruvianum Chacon–are they phytochemically synonymous? Int J Biomed Sci 11:1–15

    Google Scholar 

  • Meissner HO, Mscisz A, Mrozikiewicz M, Baraniak M, Mielcarek S, Kedzia B, Piatkowska E, Jólkowska J, Pisulewski P (2015b) Peruvian maca (Lepidium peruvianum): (I) phytochemical and genetic differences in three maca phenotypes. Int J Biomed Sci 11:131–145

    Google Scholar 

  • Mellon FA, Bennett RN, Holst B, Williamson G (2002) Intact glucosinolate analysis in plant extracts by programmed cone voltage electrospray LC/MS: performance and comparison with LC/MS/MS methods. Anal Biochem 306:83–91. doi:10.1006/abio.2002.5677

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Melnikovova I, Havlik J, Cusimamani EF, Milella L (2012) Macamides and fatty acids content comparison in maca cultivated under field conditions and greenhouse. Bol Latinoam Caribe Plant Med Aromat 11:420–427

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Muhammad I, Zhao J, Dunbar DC, Khan IA (2002) Constituents of Lepidium meyenii ‘maca’. Phytochemistry 59:105–110. doi:10.1016/S0031-9422(01)00395-8

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Park S, Arasu MV, Lee MK, Chun JH, Seo JM, Al-Dhabi NA et al (2014) Analysis and metabolite profiling of glucosinolates, anthocyanins and free amino acids in inbred lines of green and red cabbage ( Brassica oleracea L.). LWT-Food Sci Technol 58:203–213. doi:10.1016/j.lwt.2014.03.002

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Piacente S, Carbone V, Plaza A, Zampelli A, Pizza C (2002) Investigation of the tuber constituents of maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp.). J Agr Food Chem 50:5621–5625. doi:10.1021/jf020280x

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Prestera T, Fahey JW, Holtzclaw WD, Abeygunawardana C, Kachinski JL, Talalay P (1996) Comprehensive chromatographic and spectroscopic methods for the separation and identification of intact glucosinolates. Anal Biochem 239:168–179. doi:10.1006/abio.1996.0312

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Rubio J, Caldas M, Dávila S, Gasco M, Gonzales GF (2006) Effect of three different cultivars of Lepidium meyenii (maca) on learning and depression in ovariectomized mice. BMC Complem Altern M 6:23. doi:10.1186/1472-6882-6-23

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ruizluna AC, Salazar S, Aspajo NJ, Rubio J, Gasco M, Gonzales GF (2005) Lepidium meyenii (maca) increases litter size in normal adult female mice. Reprod Biol Endocrin 3:1–6. doi:10.1186/1477-7827-3-16

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Twenty-first Century Business Herald. From expensive price to general price: uncovering the mystery of maca. Accessed 2 Mar 2016

  • Verkerk R, Dekker M, Jongen WM (2001) Post harvest increase of indolyl glucosinolates in response to chopping and storage brassica vegetables. J Sci Food Agr 81:953–958. doi:10.1016/S0196-0644(99)80394-1

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Wang YL, Wang YC, McNeil B, Harvey LM (2007) Maca: an andean crop with multi-pharmacological functions. Food Res Int 40:783–792. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2007.02.005

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yábar E, Pedreschi R, Chirinos R, Campos D (2011) Glucosinolate content and myrosinase activity evolution in three maca (Lepidium meyenii Walp.) ecotypes during preharvest, harvest and postharvest drying. Food Chem 127:1576–1583. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2011.02.021

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhang Y, Yu L, Ao M, Jin W (2006) Effect of ethanol extract of Lepidium meyenii Walp. on osteoporosis in ovariectomized rat. J Ethnopharmacol 105:274–279. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2005.12.013

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zhao J, Muhammad I, Dunbar DC, Mustafa J, Khan IA (2005) New alkamides from maca (Lepidium meyenii). J Agr Food Chem 53:690–693. doi:10.1021/jf048529t

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  • Zhao J, Avula B, Chan M, Clément C, Kreuzer M, Khan IA (2012) Metabolomic differentiation of maca (Lepidium meyenii) accessions cultivated under different conditions using NMR and chemometric analysis. Planta Med 78:90–101. doi:10.1055/s-0031-1280117

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors are thankful to Yang Yongwu, Lijiang Green Hanson Biotechnology Development Co., Ltd. (Yunnan Province, China) for the maca materials.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Liming Zhang or Limin Hao.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of Interest

Liming Zhang declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Jie Cao declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Limin Hao declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Caicai Kang declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Zhang, L., Cao, J., Hao, L. et al. Quality Evaluation of Lepidium meyenii (Maca) Based on HPLC and LC-MS Analysis of its Glucosinolates from Roots. Food Anal. Methods 10, 2143–2151 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: