Chemotaxonomic metabolite profiling of 62 indigenous Korean plant species was performed by ultrahigh performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC)-linear trap quadrupole-ion trap (LTQ-IT) mass spectrometry/mass spectrometry (MS/MS) combined with multivariate statistical analysis. In partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA), the 62 species clustered depending on their phylogenetic family, in particular, Aceraceae, Betulaceae, and Fagaceae were distinguished from Rosaceae, Fabaceae, and Asteraceae. Quinic acid, gallic acid, quercetin, quercetin derivatives, kaempferol, and kaempferol derivatives were identified as family-specific metabolites, and were found in relatively high concentrations in Aceraceae, Betulaceae, and Fagaceae. Fagaceae and Asteraceae were selected based on results of PLS-DA and bioactivities to determine the correlation between metabolic differences among plant families and bioactivities. Quinic acid, quercetin, kaempferol, quercetin derivatives, and kaempferol derivatives were found in higher concentrations in Fagaceae than in Asteraceae, and were positively correlated with antioxidant and tyrosinase inhibition activities. These results suggest that metabolite profiling was a useful tool for finding the different metabolic states of each plant family and understanding the correlation between metabolites and bioactivities in accordance with plant family.
Keywords: UHPLC-LTQ-IT-MS/MS; antioxidant activity; chemotaxonomy; indigenous plant; metabolite profiling; tyrosinase inhibition activity.