Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Comparative analysis of diosgenin in Dioscorea species and related medicinal plants by UPLC-DAD-MS

Tao Yi1*, Lan-Lan Fan2, Hong-Li Chen3, Guo-Yuan Zhu4, Hau-Man Suen1, Yi-Na Tang1, Lin Zhu1, Chu Chu5, Zhong-Zhen Zhao1 and Hu-Biao Chen1*

Author Affiliations

1 School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, PR China

2 Guangxi Botanical Garden of Medicinal Plant, Nanning, Guangxi 530023, China

3 Department of Chemistry, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China

4 The State Key Laboratory of Quality Research in Chinese Medicine, Macau University of Science and Technology, Macau, China

5 College of Pharmaceutical Science, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310014, China

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Biochemistry 2014, 15:19  doi:10.1186/1471-2091-15-19

Published: 9 August 2014



Dioscorea is a genus of flowering plants, and some Dioscorea species are known and used as a source for the steroidal sapogenin diosgenin. To screen potential resource from Dioscorea species and related medicinal plants for diosgenin extraction, a rapid method to compare the contents of diosgenin in various plants is crucial.


An ultra-performance liquid chromatography (UPLC) coupled with diode array detection (DAD) and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) method was developed for identification and determination of diosgenin in various plants. A comprehensive validation of the developed method was conducted. Twenty-four batches of plant samples from four Dioscorea species, one Smilax species and two Heterosmilax species were analyzed by using the developed method.

The present method presented good sensitivity, precision and accuracy. Diosgenin was found in three Dioscorea species and one Heterosmilax species, namely D. zingiberensis, D. septemloba, D. collettii and H. yunnanensis.


The method is suitable for the screening of diosgenin resources from plants. D. zingiberensis is an important resource for diosgenin harvesting.

Diosgenin; UPLC-DAD-MS; Dioscorea; Medicinal plants; Quality evaluation