Discrimination of American ginseng and Asian ginseng using electronic nose and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry coupled with chemometrics

Shaoqing Cui, Jianfeng Wu, Jun Wang, Xinlei Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) and Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) products, such as slices, have a similar appearance, but they have significantly different prices, leading to widespread adulteration in the commercial market. Their aroma characteristics are attracting increasing attention and are supposed to be effective and nondestructive markers to determine adulteration. Methods: The aroma characteristics of American and Asian ginseng were investigated using gas chromatographyemass spectrometry(GC-MS) and an electronic nose (E-nose). Their volatile organic compounds were separated, classified, compared, and analyzed with different pattern recognition. Results: The E-nose showed a good performance in grouping with a principle component analysis explaining 94.45% of variance. A total of 69 aroma components were identified by GC-MS, with 35.6% common components and 64.6% special ingredients between the two ginsengs. It was observed that the components and the number of terpenes and alcohols were markedly different, indicating possible reasons for their difference. The results of pattern recognition confirmed that the E-nose processing result is similar to that of GC-MS. The interrelation between aroma constituents and sensors indicated that special sensors were highly related to some terpenes and alcohols. Accordingly, the contents of selected constituents were accurately predicted by corresponding sensors with most R2 reaching 90%. Conclusion: Combined with advanced chemometrics, the E-nose is capable of discriminating between American and Asian ginseng in both qualitative and quantitative angles, presenting an accurate, rapid, and nondestructive reference approach.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)85-95
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Ginseng Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2017


  • Aroma characteristics
  • Electronic nose
  • GC-MS
  • Panax ginseng
  • Panax quinquefolius

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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