Differentiation of two Maytenus species and their hybrid via untargeted metabolomics
Antunes ERM, Duarte RS, Moritz T, Sawaya ACHF

Despite being important medicinal species, it is not clear if Maytenus ilicifolia and Maytenus aquifolium are chemically and pharmacologically similar or if their chemical composition can be affected by environmental conditions. Since their gastroprotective and antiulcerogenic properties seem to be related to a synergistic activity of their complex composition, a systemic approach to clarify such issues is more appropriate. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to analyze the chemical composition of M. ilicifolia, M. aquifolium and the hybrid individuals and verify if environmental conditions affected their composition over one year, using untargeted metabolomics. With this approach, it was possible to differentiate the composition of both species in more detail by detecting major and minor compounds, including two minor compounds not previously reported for Maytenus: protocatechuic acid glucoside and 13(S)-HOTrE. In addition, correlation between some metabolites and environmental conditions was also observed, which could affect the pharmacological activities of both species. This is the first study to apply untargeted metabolomics to analyze the composition of M. ilicifolia and M. aquifolium, demonstrating that the chemical composition of these species is not equivalent. Furthermore, the decrease in concentration of certain compounds correlated with climate suggest that dry and cold months should be avoided for leaf collection.

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