Histochemical analysis of the root tuber of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (Fam. Polygonaceae)

Zhitao LIANG, Yi Xiao Shi, Hubiao CHEN, Zhongzhen ZHAO*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Authentication is the first priority in quality evaluation of Chinese herbal medicines (CHMs). The most commonly used authentication methods are morphological identification and microscopic identification. Unfortunately, these two methods cannot provide the chemical information needed to assess the quality of CHMs. In this study, a combination of fluorescence microscopy and high performance liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) was used to analyze the chemical profiles of the tissues of the raw root tubers of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. The results showed that the cork cells, cortex, and vessels in transverse sections of the raw root tuber of P. multiflorum fluoresced differently. Further analysis by HPLC-MS revealed that anthraquinones are mainly distributed in the cortex, and 2,3,5,4'-tetrahydroxystilbene-2-O-β-D-glucopyranoside could be found in all tissues of the raw root tubers of P. multiflorum with its relative content as cork > cortex > xylem of allotype vascular bundles > xylem of central vascular bundles. Moreover, the fluorescence characteristics of the tissues from the steamed root tuber of P. multiflorum were compared and showed different fluorescence from those of raw material. From these results, it can be deduced that the root tuber of P. multiflorum with a broader cortex and fewer vascular bundles visible in a transverse section should be of better quality. The different fluorescence characteristics can be used to differentiate raw root tubers of P. multiflorum from those that have been steamed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-495
Number of pages8
JournalMicroscopy Research and Technique
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Instrumentation
  • Medical Laboratory Technology

User-Defined Keywords

  • Anthraquinone
  • Fluorescence microscopy
  • Histochemical analysis
  • Polygonum multiflorum Thunb


Dive into the research topics of 'Histochemical analysis of the root tuber of Polygonum multiflorum Thunb. (Fam. Polygonaceae)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this