Metabolite profiling of fermented ginseng extracts by gas chromatography mass spectrometry

  • Received : 2016.09.07
  • Accepted : 2016.12.20
  • Published : 2018.01.15


Background: Ginseng contains many small metabolites such as amino acids, fatty acids, carbohydrates, and ginsenosides. However, little is known about the relationships between microorganisms and metabolites during the entire ginseng fermentation process. We investigated metabolic changes during ginseng fermentation according to the inoculation of food-compatible microorganisms. Methods: Gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GC-MS) datasets coupled with the multivariate statistical method for the purpose of latent-information extraction and sample classification were used for the evaluation of ginseng fermentation. Four different starter cultures (Saccharomyces bayanus, Bacillus subtilis, Lactobacillus plantarum, and Leuconostoc mesenteroide) were used for the ginseng extract fermentation. Results: The principal component analysis score plot and heat map showed a clear separation between ginseng extracts fermented with S. bayanus and other strains. The highest levels of fructose, maltose, and galactose in the ginseng extracts were found in ginseng extracts fermented with B. subtilis. The levels of succinic acid and malic acid in the ginseng extract fermented with S. bayanus as well as the levels of lactic acid, malonic acid, and hydroxypruvic acid in the ginseng extract fermented with lactic acid bacteria (L. plantarum and L. mesenteroide) were the highest. In the results of taste features analysis using an electronic tongue, the ginseng extracts fermented with lactic acid bacteria were significantly distinguished from other groups by a high index of sour taste probably due to high lactic acid contents. Conclusion: These results suggest that a metabolomics approach based on GC-MS can be a useful tool to understand ginseng fermentation and evaluate the fermentative characteristics of starter cultures.


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