Remarkable impact of amino acids on ginsenoside transformation from fresh ginseng to red ginseng

  • Liu, Zhi (College of Chinese Medicinal Materials, Jilin Agricultural University) ;
  • Wen, Xin (College of Chinese Medicinal Materials, Jilin Agricultural University) ;
  • Wang, Chong-Zhi (Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research and The Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago) ;
  • Li, Wei (College of Chinese Medicinal Materials, Jilin Agricultural University) ;
  • Huang, Wei-Hua (Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research and The Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago) ;
  • Xia, Juan (College of Chinese Medicinal Materials, Jilin Agricultural University) ;
  • Ruan, Chang-Chun (Institute of Agricultural Modernization, Jilin Agricultural University) ;
  • Yuan, Chun-Su (Tang Center for Herbal Medicine Research and The Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago)
  • Received : 2018.03.27
  • Accepted : 2019.04.05
  • Published : 2020.05.15


Background: Amino acids are one of the major constituents in Panax ginseng, including neutral amino acid, acidic amino acid, and basic amino acid. However, whether these amino acids play a role in ginsenoside conversion during the steaming process has not yet been elucidated. Methods: In the present study, to elucidate the role of amino acids in ginsenoside transformation from fresh ginseng to red ginseng, an amino acids impregnation pretreatment was applied during the steaming process at 120℃. Acidic glutamic acid and basic arginine were used for the acid impregnation treatment during the root steaming. The ginsenosides contents, pH, browning intensity, and free amino acids contents in untreated and amino acid-treated P. ginseng samples were determined. Results: After 2 h of steaming, the concentration of less polar ginsenosides in glutamic acid-treated P. ginseng was significantly higher than that in untreated P. ginseng during the steaming process. However, the less polar ginsenosides in arginine-treated P. ginseng increased slightly. Meanwhile, free amino acids contents in fresh P. ginseng, glutamic acid-treated P. ginseng, and arginine-treated P. ginseng significantly decreased during steaming from 0 to 2h. The pH also decreased in P. ginseng samples at high temperatures. The pH decrease in red ginseng was closely related to the decrease in basic amino acids levels during the steaming process. Conclusion: Amino acids can remarkably affect the acidity of P. ginseng sample by altering the pH value. They were the main influential factors for the ginsenoside transformation. These results are useful in elucidating why and how steaming induces the structural change of ginsenoside inP. ginseng and also provides an effective and green approach to regulate the ginsenoside conversion using amino acids during the steaming process.



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