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Isolation and identification of new chemical constituents from Chinese chive (Allium tuberosum) and toxicological evaluation of raw and cooked Chinese chive

Gao, Quan, Li, Xia-Bing, Sun, Jia, Xia, Er-Dong, Tang, Feng, Cao, Hai-Qun, Xun, Hang
Food and chemical toxicology 2018 v.112 pp. 400-411
Allium tuberosum, biochemical pathways, chemical composition, circular dichroism spectroscopy, dietary supplements, electrospray ionization mass spectrometry, flavor, flavorings, food additives, health promotion, high performance liquid chromatography, humans, kidney cells, kidneys, lignans, liver, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, nutritive value, odors, pyrazines, rats, solvents, toxicity, toxicology, vegetables, volatile organic compounds, China
Chinese chive (jiu cai) is a popular vegetable in China and has a unique flavour and aroma. The molecular basis of the characteristic fragrance and nutritional properties of Chinese chive has not been previously identified. Sequential extractions in a series of solvents and high-performance liquid chromatography were used to isolate 40 compounds from Chinese chive. The compounds were identified based on high-resolution electrospray ionization mass spectra, 1D and 2D nuclear magnetic resonance techniques, and circular dichroism spectra. Eight novel compounds were identified—four new pyrazines, which have distinctive flavour; one new lignan; and three new flavonoids—together with 32 known compounds. Several of these compounds have potential applications as health-promoting dietary supplements, food additives, or seasonings. Additionally, the volatile organic compounds in fresh and steamed Chinese chive were compared, and the toxicological activity of extracts from fresh and steamed Chinese chive was tested in normal rat liver (IAR20) and kidney (NRK) cells. The results showed that Chinese chive is toxic to liver and kidney cells when fresh, but is safe after heating. This could explain why it is traditional to eat cooked Chinese chive. A possible metabolic rule regarding pyrazines is postulated based on this data, and a human metabolic pathway is suggested for two of the novel compounds which have the highest amount of Chinese chive extracts.