The medicinal plants and spices contain a diverse array of secondary metabolites , which are of medicinal importance . However , our current knowledge on these secondary metabolites in medicinal plants or spices is quite limited . Plant metabolomics is a powerful tool for the comprehensive profiling and comparison of primary as well as secondary metabolites in plants . The metabolomes can be studied using different tissue samples , such as leaves , cultured cells , callus cultures , hairy root cultures , protoplasts , roots and the whole plant . Model plant systems are available to perfect and refine the techniques of metabolomics . Some of the popular examples are tomato , Arabidopsis , Withania , Papaver , Catharanthus roseus , Curcuma sp . Metabolomics study has several applications such as ( i ) target compound analysis - the quantification of specific metabolites , ( ii ) the metabolome profiling - the quantitative and qualitative estimation of a set compounds , ( i ) metabolite fingerprinting - sample classification by rapid global analysis , and ( iv ) metabolic engineering - enhancing the levels of medicinally important secondary compounds in targeted plants . The working principles of metabolomics are based on sample preparation , analysis using various instruments , data processing data analysis and finally modelling . Over the past decade , several methods suitable for large - scale analysis and comparison of metabolites in plant extracts have been established . Thousands of metabolites can be detected by the modern metabolomics methods in a single and small plant sample . While describing the principles and the methodology of plant metabolomics , case studies of a few medicinal plants , and spices would be presented and discussed . Illustrations would be made on the uses of the metabolite profiles from metabolomic studies for validating the contents of popular Ayurvedic formulations as well as testing quality control of medicinal plant - based products in the market.
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