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Home > Literature List > A general procedure for establishing composite quality evaluation indices based on key quality attributes of traditional Chinese medicine

A general procedure for establishing composite quality evaluation indices based on key quality attributes of traditional Chinese medicine

Journal name:Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis
Literature No.:
Literature Url: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0731708521005264
Date publication:5 January 2022
Licorice, a medicinal herb and food flavor ingredient, has been widely used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for the past 4000 years. In this study, we propose a new quality evaluation approach for licorice quality control based on the key quality attributes commonly used in TCM. The high quality of TCM formulations is ensured by verifying the genuine origin and implementing good agricultural and collection practices for each medicinal herb. In our study, the genuine production area, the harvest season, and the number of growth years were considered the key quality attributes of TCM. To ensure the representativeness of our analysis, we obtained a total of 158 licorice sample batches that differed in the number of growth years, the location of the production areas, and the season for harvesting. Initially, the 158 sample batches were subjected to ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS). A preliminary screen identified 11 licorice compounds related to the three key quality attributes of TCM . An analysis by ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography coupled with triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-TQ-MS/MS) verified the presence of 34 compounds in all licorice samples. These 34 compounds included the 11 compounds related to the three key quality attributes of the samples, along with other bioactive components identified in previous studies. After using UHPLC-TQ-MS/MS to assess the signal peak intensities of the 34 compounds, we selected 17 licorice compounds to establish sample content evaluation indices, which were determined by high-performance liquid chromatography at four different wavelengths in all 158 licorice sample batches. Finally, the screen identified nine compounds that were closely associated with the quality attributes of licorice based on principal component analysis (PCA) and orthogonal partial least squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA). Our results suggested that liquiritin and eight other compounds could be used as quality control indicators of licorice, which provided a foundation to establish the TCM quality composite evaluation index (TCM QCEI). In summary, this research concept can serve as a reference for research on quality markers and the evaluation of TCM.