Comparison of Metabolomics Approaches for Evaluating the Variability of Complex Botanical Preparations: Green Tea (Camellia sinensis) as a Case Study

Joshua J. Kellogg, Tyler N. Graf, Mary F. Paine, Jeannine S. McCune, Olav M. Kvalheim, Nicholas H. Oberlies, Nadja B. Cech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations


A challenge that must be addressed when conducting studies with complex natural products is how to evaluate their complexity and variability. Traditional methods of quantifying a single or a small range of metabolites may not capture the full chemical complexity of multiple samples. Different metabolomics approaches were evaluated to discern how they facilitated comparison of the chemical composition of commercial green tea [Camellia sinensis (L.) Kuntze] products, with the goal of capturing the variability of commercially used products and selecting representative products for in vitro or clinical evaluation. Three metabolomic-related methods - untargeted ultraperformance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS), targeted UPLC-MS, and untargeted, quantitative 1HNMR - were employed to characterize 34 commercially available green tea samples. Of these methods, untargeted UPLC-MS was most effective at discriminating between green tea, green tea supplement, and non-green-tea products. A method using reproduced correlation coefficients calculated from principal component analysis models was developed to quantitatively compare differences among samples. The obtained results demonstrated the utility of metabolomics employing UPLC-MS data for evaluating similarities and differences between complex botanical products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1457-1466
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Natural Products
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 26 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Organic Chemistry

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