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Purpose: To study the transformation of the aroma components and pungent constituents of Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim. (ZBM) leaves and pericarps at different periods, and to provide a basis for selecting an appropriate harvest time for the pericarps and leaves.
Methods: Quantitative analysis of the pungent components of ZBM leaves and pericarps was performed by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) while their aroma constituents were analyzed by headspace solid phase micro-extraction combined with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-SPME-GC-MS).
Results: HPLC analysis revealed that hydroxy-α-sanshool was the predominant pungent component in both the leaves and pericarps of different parts of ZBM at different harvest periods, followed by hydroxy- γ-sanshool and hydroxy-β-sanshool. During the growth of ZBM, the contents of pungent substances in the leaves declined gradually, while pungent substances in the pericarps increased. The results of HSSPME- GC-MS analysis showed that linalyl acetate, linalool and limonene were the major aroma components of the leaves and pericarps of ZBM at different harvest periods. During the growth of ZBM, the contents of monoterpenes in the leaves decreased gradually, whereas monoterpenes in the pericarps increased.
Conclusion: These results suggest that the pungent and aroma components produced in ZBM at early developmental stages are stored in the leaves, and are gradually transferred to the pericarps at the final developmental stages. Thus, the leaves of ZBM can be used as a new source of food and medicine.
Keywords: Zanthoxylum bungeanum Maxim., Pericarp, Pungent components, Aroma components