ISSN print edition: 0366-6352
ISSN electronic edition: 1336-9075
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Determination of mycotoxins, alkaloids, phytochemicals, antioxidants and cytotoxicity in Asiatic ginseng (Ashwagandha, Dong quai, Panax ginseng)

Anna Filipiak-Szok, M. Kurzawa, E. Szłyk, M. Twarużek, A. Błajet-Kosicka, and J. Grajewski

Faculty of Chemistry, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Toruń, Poland



Abstract: Mycotoxins and selected hazardous alkaloids in the medicinal plants (Panax ginseng, Angelica sinensis, and Withania somnifera) and dietary supplements were determined. Purine alkaloids were found in majority of samples; however, isoquinoline alkaloids were less abundant than indole. The predominant alkaloids appear to be caffeine (purine group), harman (indole group) and berberine (isoquinoline). Examined medicinal plants and dietary supplements were contaminated by mycotoxins (especially ochratoxin A 1.72–5.83 µg kg−1), and many species of mold (e.g. Cladosporium, Eurotium, Aspergillus, Rhizopus, Penicillium). MTT cytotoxicity tests revealed that plant and supplements extracts exhibited medium or high cytotoxicity (only Dong quai—low). Moreover, antioxidant activity, total phenolics content and selected phytochemicals were analyzed by spectrophotometric and chromatographic methods. Quercetin and rutin were predominant flavonols (1.94-9.51 and 2.20–7.28 mg 100 g−1, respectively). Analysis of phenolic acids revealed—gallic acid, as the most abundant, except Panax ginseng, where ferulic acid was prevailing. The results were analyzed by chemometric methods (cluster analysis, ANOVA).

Keywords: Mycotoxins; Alkaloids; Phytochemicals; Antioxidants; Cytotoxicity; Ginseng; Dietary supplements

Full paper is available at

DOI: 10.1007/s11696-016-0028-0


Chemical Papers 71 (6) 1073–1082 (2017)

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

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