Wood profiling by non-targeted high-resolution mass spectrometry: Part 1, Metabolite profiling in Cedrela wood for the determination of the geographical origin

J Chromatogr A. 2021 Mar 29;1641:461993. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2021.461993. Epub 2021 Feb 12.


The determination of the geographical origin of wood can be highly relevant for several reasons: On the one hand, it can help to prevent illegal logging and timber trade, on the other hand, it is of special interest for archaeological artefacts made of wood, as well as for a variety of biological questions. For this reason, different extraction methods were first tested for the analysis of polar and non-polar metabolites using liquid chromatography coupled electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-ESI-QTOF-MS). A two-phase extraction with chloroform, methanol and water proved to be particularly successful. Subsequently, cedrela (Cedrela odorata) samples from South America were measured to distinguish geographic origin. Using multivariate data analysis, numerous origin-dependent differences could be extracted. The identification of the marker substances indicated that several metabolic pathways were affected by the geographical influences, some of them probably indicating pest infections.

Keywords: extraction; geographical origin; illegal logging; metabolomics; non-targeted mass spectrometry; wood.

MeSH terms

  • Acetates / analysis
  • Cedrela / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Cyclopentanes / analysis
  • Geography*
  • Metabolic Networks and Pathways
  • Metabolome*
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Methanol / analysis
  • Oxylipins / analysis
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization / methods*
  • Wood / metabolism*


  • Acetates
  • Cyclopentanes
  • Oxylipins
  • methyl jasmonate
  • Methanol