Metabolic differentiations and classification of Verbascum species by NMR-based metabolomics.

PMID 21807390


The genus Verbascum L. (mulleins) comprises of about 360 species of flowering plants in the Scrophulariaceae family. Mulleins have been used in the traditional folk medicine for centuries, for treatment of a wide range of human ailments, inter alia bronchitis, tuberculosis, asthma, and different inflammations. Despite all applications the knowledge of the metabolites, accumulated in different mullein species, is still limited and based mainly on determination of the major compounds. Here we report the application of 1H NMR metabolic fingerprinting in combination with principal component analyses (PCA) in five different Verbascum species. Based on the obtained results mulleins were divided in two groups: group A (Verbascum phlomoides and Verbascum densiflorum) and group B (Verbascum xanthophoeniceum, Verbascum nigrum and Verbascum phoeniceum). Further it was found that the plants in group B accumulate higher amounts of bioactive iridoid and phenylethanoid glycosides. V. xanthophoeniceum and V. nigrum accumulate higher amounts of the pharmaceutically-important harpagoside (∼0.5% on dry weight basis) and verbascoside, forsythoside B and leucosceptoside B (in total 5.6-5.8% on dry weight basis), which underlines the possibility for their application in pharmaceutical industry. To the best of our knowledge this is the first report on the analyses of Verbascum sp. leaf metabolome.