Impact of Sulfur Fumigation on Ginger: Chemical and Biological Evidence

Wei-Hao Zhang, Han-Yan Luo, Jing Fang, Chen Liang Zhao, Kam-Chun Chan, Yui-Man Chan, Cai Xia Dong, Hu-Biao Chen, Zhong-Zhen Zhao, Song-Lin Li*, Jun Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


We previously found that sulfur fumigation, a commonly used controversial method for the post-harvest handling of ginger, induces the generation of a compound in ginger, which was speculated to be a sulfur-containing derivative of 6-shogaol based on its mass data. However, the chemical and biological properties of the compound remain unknown. As a follow-up study, here we report the chemical structure, systemic exposure, and anticancer activity of the compound. Chromatographic separation, nuclear magnetic resonance analysis, and chemical synthesis structurally elucidated the compound as 6-gingesulfonic acid. Pharmacokinetics in rats found that 6-gingesulfonic acid was more slowly absorbed and eliminated, with more prototypes existing in the blood than 6-shogaol. Metabolism profiling indicated that the two compounds produced qualitatively and quantitatively different metabolites. It was further found that 6-gingesulfonic acid exerted significantly weaker antiproliferative activity on tumor cells than 6-shogaol. The data provide chemical and biological evidence that sulfur fumigation may impair the healthcare functions of ginger.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12577-12586
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number39
Early online date21 Sept 2022
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Chemistry(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • 6-gingesulfonic acid
  • 6-shogaol
  • anticancer
  • ginger
  • sulfur fumigation
  • systemic exposure


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