Infrared and Raman spectroscopic methods for characterization of Taxus baccata L.--Improved taxane isolation by accelerated quality control and process surveillance

Talanta. 2015 Oct 1:143:42-49. doi: 10.1016/j.talanta.2015.04.090. Epub 2015 May 8.


Different yew species contain poisonous taxane alkaloids which serve as resources for semi-synthesis of anticancer drugs. The highly variable amounts of taxanes demand new methods for fast characterization of the raw plant material and the isolation of the target structures during phyto extraction. For that purpose, applicability of different vibrational spectroscopy methods in goods receipt of raw plant material and in process control was investigated and demonstrated in online tracking isolation and purification of the target taxane 10-deacetylbaccatin III (10-DAB) during solvent extraction. Applying near (NIRS) and mid infrared spectroscopy (IRS) the amount of botanical impurities in mixed samples of two different yew species (R(2)=0.993), the leave-to-wood ratio for Taxus baccata material (R(2)=0.94) and moisture in dried yew needles (R(2)=0.997) can be quantified. By partial least square analysis (PCA) needles of different Coniferales species were successfully discriminated by Attenuated Total Reflectance-Fourier-Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (ATR-FT-IR). The analytical potential of ATR-FT-IR and Fourier Transform-Raman Spectroscopy (FT-RS) in process control of extraction and purification of taxanes is demonstrated for determination of the water content in methanolic yew extracts (R(2)=0.999) and for quantification of 10-DAB (R(2)=0.98) on a highly sophisticated level. The decrease of 10-DAB in the plant tissue during extraction was successfully visualized by FT-IR imaging of thin cross sections providing new perspectives for process control and design.

Keywords: 10-Deacetylbaccatin III; ATR-FT-IR spectroscopy; FT-Raman spectroscopy; NIRS; PCA; PLS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chemical Fractionation / methods*
  • Quality Control
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared*
  • Spectrum Analysis, Raman*
  • Taxoids / analysis
  • Taxoids / isolation & purification*
  • Taxus / chemistry*
  • Taxus / classification
  • Water / analysis


  • Taxoids
  • Water
  • 10-deacetylbaccatine III