Phenolic Profiling for Traceability of Vanilla x tahitensis

Vanilla is a flavoring recovered from the cured beans of the orchid genus Vanilla. Vanilla xtahitensis is traditionally cultivated on the islands of French Polynesia, where vanilla vines were first introduced during the nineteenth century and, since the 1960s, have been introduced to other Pacific countries such as Papua New Guinea (PNG), cultivated and sold as "Tahitian vanilla," although both sensory properties and aspect are different. From an economic point of view, it is important to ensure V. xtahitensis traceability and to guarantee that the marketed product is part of the future protected designation of the origin "Tahitian vanilla" (PDO), currently in progress in French Polynesia. The application of metabolomics, allowing the detection and simultaneous analysis of hundreds or thousands of metabolites from different matrices, has recently gained high interest in food traceability. Here, metabolomics analysis of phenolic compounds profiles was successfully applied for the first time to V. xtahitensis to deepen our knowledge of vanilla metabolome, focusing on phenolics compounds, for traceability purposes. Phenolics were screened through a quadrupole-time-of-flightmass spectrometer coupled to a UHPLC liquid chromatography system, and 260 different compounds were clearly evidenced and subjected to different statistical analysis in order to enable the discrimination of the samples based on their origin. Eighty-eight and twenty three compounds, with a prevalence of flavonoids, resulted to be highly discriminant through ANOVA and Orthogonal Projections to Latent Structures Discriminant Analysis (OPLS-DA) respectively. Volcano plot analysis and pairwise comparisons were carried out to determine those compounds, mainly responsible for the differences among samples as a consequence of either origin or cultivar. The samples from PNG were clearly different from the Tahitian samples that were further divided in two different groups based on the different phenolic patterns. Among the 260 compounds, metabolomics analysis enabled the detection of previously unreported phenolics in vanilla (such as flavonoids, lignans, stilbenes and other polyphenols).


Vanilla xtahitensis, food metabolomics, phenolics, traceability, authenticity

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Supplementary Table 1. A full list of the 260 phenolic compounds is provided.
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Supplementary Table 2. The compounds, significantly different among the three samples (one-way ANOVA, multiple testing correction, p-value 0.05), are reported with the corresponding P-value.
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Supplementary Table 3. The results of the volcano plot analysis reporting, for each pairwise comparison, the compounds characterized by a fold change higher than 2.
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How to cite
Busconi Matteo, Lucini Luigi, Soffritti Giovanna, Bernardi Jamila, Bernardo Letizia, Brunschwig Christel, Lepers-Andrzejewski Sandra, Raharivelomanana Phila, Fernandez Jose A. (2017). Phenolic Profiling for Traceability of Vanilla x tahitensis. Frontiers In Plant Science. 8 (1746). 13p.-.,

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