Metabolic profiling for studying chemotype variations in Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal fruits using GC-MS and NMR spectroscopy

Anil Bhatia, Santosh K. Bharti, Shri K. Tewari, Om P. Sidhu, Raja Roy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Withania somnifera (L.) Dunal (Solanaceae), commonly known as Ashwagandha, is one of the most valued Indian medicinal plant with several pharmaceutical and nutraceutical applications. Metabolic profiling was performed by GC-MS and NMR spectroscopy on the fruits obtained from four chemotypes of W. somnifera. A combination of 1H NMR spectroscopy and GC-MS identified 82 chemically diverse metabolites consisting of organic acids, fatty acids, aliphatic and aromatic amino acids, polyols, sugars, sterols, tocopherols, phenolic acids and withanamides in the fruits of W. somnifera. The range of metabolites identified by GC-MS and NMR of W. somnifera fruits showed various known and unknown metabolites. The primary and secondary metabolites observed in this study represent MVA, DOXP, shikimic acid and phenylpropanoid biosynthetic metabolic pathways. Squalene and tocopherol have been rated as the most potent naturally occurring compounds with antioxidant properties. These compounds have been identified by us for the first time in the fruits of W. somnifera. Multivariate principal component analysis (PCA) on GC-MS and NMR data revealed clear distinctions in the primary and secondary metabolites among the chemotypes. The variation in the metabolite concentration among different chemotypes of the fruits of W. somnifera suggest that specific chemovars can be used to obtain substantial amounts of bioactive ingredients for use as potential pharmacological and nutraceuticals agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-115
Number of pages11
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Fruit
  • GC-MS
  • Metabolite profiling
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Withania somnifera

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Plant Science
  • Horticulture


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