American Chemical Society
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Microscopy and Mass Spectrometry Imaging Reveals the Distributions of Curcumin Species in Dried Turmeric Root

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journal contribution
posted on 2019-08-15, 13:39 authored by Shuichi Shimma, Takehito Sagawa
Plants contain many secondary metabolites, which are sometimes used as spices and herbal medicines. However, the three-dimensional distribution of metabolites is usually unknown. In this study, the spatial distribution of curcumin, one of the main components of dried turmeric root, was examined. Because dried turmeric samples are extremely hard and impossible to section with existing cryomicrotomes, we introduced a new sectioning method and analyzed the two-dimensional distribution of curcumin in turmeric sections cut in different directions. The geometrical analysis of the imaging results suggested that curcumin forms tubular components inside turmeric. The wide-target analysis showed that the spatial distribution of curcumin analogues was similar to that of curcumin. Thus, mass spectrometry imaging was successfully implemented for clarifying the distribution of secondary metabolites in dry plant samples. Understanding the distribution of metabolites inside the plant body might contribute to improving their production processes, including the methods for extraction of active ingredients.