Impact of sulphur fumigation on the chemistry of ginger

Cheng Ying Wu, Ming Kong, Wei Zhang, Fang Long, Jing Zhou, Shan Shan Zhou, Jin Di Xu, Jun Xu*, Song Lin Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Ginger (Zingiberis Rhizoma), a commonly-consumed food supplement, is often sulphur-fumigated during post-harvest handling, but it remains unknown if sulphur fumigation induces chemical transformations in ginger. In this study, the effects of sulphur fumigation on ginger chemicals were investigated by ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS)-based metabolomics. The results showed that sulphur fumigation significantly altered the holistic chemical profile of ginger by triggering chemical transformations of certain original components. 6-Gingesulphonic acid, previously reported as a naturally-occurring component in ginger, was revealed to be a sulphur fumigation-induced artificial derivative, which was deduced to be generated by electrophilic addition of 6-shogaol to sulphurous acid. Using UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS extracting ion analysis with 6-gingesulphonic acid as a characteristic chemical marker, all the commercial ginger samples inspected were determined to be sulphur-fumigated. The research outcomes provide a chemical basis for further comprehensive safety and efficacy evaluations of sulphur-fumigated ginger.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)953-963
Number of pages11
JournalFood Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science

User-Defined Keywords

  • 6-Gingesulphonic acid
  • Ginger
  • Metabolomics
  • Sulphur fumigation


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