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Sandasi, M., Kamatou, G.P.P., Combrinck, S., Viljoen, A.M. 2013. A chemotaxonomic assessment of four indigenous South African Lippia species using GC–MS and vibrational spectroscopy of the essential oils. Biochemical Systematics and Ecology 51: 142–152.

Lippia species are widely used as traditional remedies by many South African communities.  The identification of Lippia spp. indigenous to South Africa is currently based on the morphology and geographical origin of the specimen. However, morphological similarities are evident and due to sympatric distributions, different species may co-occur in the same natural environment, thereby presenting difficulties in the taxonomic delimitation of these taxa. In this paper, gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) and vibrational spectroscopic analyses were used to investigate the chemotaxonomic differentiation of four Lippia species (L. javanica,L. scaberrima, L. rehmannii and L. wilmsii), based on the essential oil composition. The results demonstrate that multivariate classification of chromatographic data enabled separation of Lippia oils into three distinct clusters representing L. scaberrima, L. rehmannii and L. javanica. With the aid of chemometric algorithms, it was also possible to use both mid infrared (MIR) and near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy for a clear distinction of the Lippiaspp., with results comparable to those obtained by GC–MS.  Orthogonal projections to latent structures (OPLS) presented a better classification algorithm than principal component analysis (PCA), in both GC–MS and spectroscopy analyses. Chemical variations within the Lippia spp. Complex were evident, particularly for L. javanica and L. scaberrima, which exhibited significant intra-species variation.

Javanica MK2 - TUT, Pretoria, Gauteng, South Africa [2010 ©]