1,600 plant extracts reveal their secrets

Plants are full of biochemical potential. Today in GigaScience, we publish an article that presents a searchable library of spectra and molecules found in a collection of 1,600 plant extracts. This open resource will be useful for research ranging from drug discovery to the large-scale exploration of plants’ chemical diversity (Read and share the article here and the press release here).

Plant metabolites can have potent biological activities. For example, the anti-malarial artemisinin or the anti-cancer drug taxol have both been discovered as natural products. Sometimes, a plant compound is also the starting point for a research & development process, and the drug that comes out in the end is derived from raw material that was provided by nature.

One of the largest collections of plant extracts in the world

With the potential of plant metabolites in mind, Pierre Fabre Laboratories, a French pharmaceutical and cosmetics company, constituted a collection of botanical samples over the years 1995 to 2015. This collection is one of the largest private plant libraries in the world. It contains over 17,000 unique samples, including some rare species and covering a diverse range of botanical families. Since 2015, Pierre Fabre Laboratories have opened access to their private plant samples collection for interested partners.

The new study published in GigaScience reports the chemical characterization of around 10% of the plant extracts in the Pierre Fabre Laboratories collection. This is an important step towards making the chemical diversity of the full collection accessible to researchers around the world.

Open data

The researchers at the University of Geneva used high-resolution mass spectrometry combined with advanced computational pipelines to acquire over two million spectra and associated chemical information. The data are now publicly available (The mass spectrometry profiles and associated metadata through the MassIVE repository, accession number MSV000087728; supporting data are also available via the GigaScience database GigaDB).

An exceptional resource

The Data Note provides demonstrations on how to query this extensive curated resource and shares both the resulting data and the employed methods. In summary, this is an exceptional resource for advancing the field of large-scale chemodiversity digitization and also an example of a fruitful partnership between academia and industry.

Read the GigaScience article:

Pierre-Marie Allard, Arnaud Gaudry, Luis-Manuel Quirós-Guerrero, Adriano Rutz, Miwa Dounoue-Kubo, Tom W N Walker, Emmanuel Defossez, Christophe Long, Antonio Grondin, Bruno David, Jean-Luc Wolfender Open and reusable annotated mass spectrometry dataset of a chemodiverse collection of 1,600 plant extractsGigaScience 2023 giac124, https://doi.org/10.1093/gigascience/giac124

Read and share the Press Release:


Supporting data in GigaDB: