Peptides as Potential Biomarkers for Authentication of Mountain-cultivated Ginseng and Cultivated Ginseng of Different Ages Using UPLC-HRMS


The growth condition and age of Panax ginseng are vital for determining the quality of the ginseng plant. However, considerable difference in price according to the cultivation method and period of P.ginseng leads to its adulteration in the trade market. We herein focused on ginseng peptides and the possibility of these peptides to be used as biomarker(s) for discrimination of P.ginseng. Also, we applied an ultra-performance liquid chromatography-high resolution mass spectrometry-based peptidomics approach to characterize ginseng peptides and discover novel peptide biomarkers for authentication of mountain-cultivated ginseng (MCG). We identified 52 high-confidence peptides and screened 20 characteristic peptides differentially expressed between MCG and cultivated ginseng (CG). Intriguingly, six differential peptides expressed significantly in MCG and originated from dehydrins that accumulated during cold or drought conditions.

Besides, fourteen other differential peptides that were significantly expressed in CG derived from ginseng major protein, an essential protein for nitrogen storage. These biological associations confirmed the reliability and credibility of the differential peptides. Additionally, we determined several robust peptide biomarkers for discrimination of MCG through a precise selection process. The findings demonstrate the potential of peptide biomarkers for identification and quality control of P.ginseng in addition to ginsenoside analysis.