Monodimensional (GC–FID and GC–MS) and Comprehensive Two-dimensional Gas Chromatography for the Assessment of Volatiles and Fatty Acids from Ruta chalepensis Aerial Parts
Ruta chalepensis L. (Rutaceae) is widespread in the Mediterranean area. This plant has a solid tradition in ethnomedicine because of its various biological activities. Based on previous reports, the main volatile constituents of R. chalepensis are 2-undecanone and 2-nonanone, but most are still unknown, particularly fatty acid composition.
To exhaustively characterise the chemical composition of the aerial parts from R. chalepensis plants collected from the wild in Sicily, within a project aiming at the evaluation and characterisation of medicinal plants from the Mediterranean flora. The study was directed toward the determination of volatiles and fatty acids in samples of R. chalepensis obtained from different aerial plant parts and from plants harvested at different times.
GC with flame ionisation detection, GC–MS and two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC × GC) advanced techniques, with support of dedicated mass spectral databases provided with retention index (RI) information, were applied to determine both volatiles and fatty acids. Samples were extracted by hydrodistillation and underwent methylic transesterification in order to be transformed into the correspondent fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs).
The monodimensional analysis by GC–MS with RI confirmed that 2-nonanone and 2-undecanone are the predominant components in all the plant parts, followed by esters and monoterpenes. A different distribution was observed of the main compounds in the various plant parts depending on the life cycle of the plant (vegetative or reproductive stage). The multidimensional GC × GC analysis allowed for a complete screening of the fatty acids. About 65% of the total were polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), followed by 30% of saturated fatty acids (SFA).
A detailed GC volatile fingerprint of R. chalepensis flowers, leaves, fruits and stems was established, highlighting the compositional differences depending on plant organs and life cycle. The results indicated R. chalepensis as a good source of fatty acids from the w3 and w6 series. In both essential oil and lipidic extract, many compounds were determined for the first time. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.