La Trobe
1213141_Zhang,P_2022.pdf (2.14 MB)

Metabolomic Profile of Indonesian Betel Quids

Download (2.14 MB)
journal contribution
posted on 2023-07-04, 03:38 authored by P Zhang, Elizabeth SariElizabeth Sari, MJ McCullough, N Cirillo
Consumption of areca nut alone, or in the form of betel quid (BQ), has negative health effects and is carcinogenic to humans. Indonesia is one of the largest producers of areca nuts worldwide, yet little is known about the biomolecular composition of Indonesian areca nuts and BQs. We have recently shown that phenolic and alkaloid content of Indonesian BQs exhibits distinct geographical differences. Here, we profiled for the first time the metabolomics of BQ constituents from four regions of Indonesia using non-targeted gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC–MS) analysis. In addition to well-known alkaloids, the analysis of small-molecule profiles tentatively identified 92 phytochemicals in BQ. These included mainly benzenoids and terpenes, as well as acids, aldehydes, alcohols, and esters. Safrole, a potentially genotoxic benzenoid, was found abundantly in betel (Piper betle) inflorescence from West Papua and was not detected in areca nut samples from any Indonesian region except West Papua. Terpenes were mostly detected in betel leaves and inflorescence/stem. Areca nut, husk, betel leaf, the inflorescence stem, and BQ mixture expressed distinctive metabolite patterns, and a significant variation in the content and concentration of metabolites was found across different geographical regions. In summary, this was the first metabolomic study of BQs using GC–MS. The results demonstrate that the molecular constituents of BQs vary geographically and suggest that the differential disease-inducing capacity of BQs may reflect their distinct chemical composition.


This research was funded by the Australian Dental Research Foundation, Inc. (grant ID: 109-2016) and Indonesian Endowment Fund for Education (LPDP).


Publication Date








Article Number








Rights Statement

© 2022 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (