Dietary supplements and food products quality control methods are mainly based on the chromatographic fingerprint as a feasible technique for species authentication and qualitative ratio determination of individual biomarkers. The application of this approach allows detecting a number of closely related compounds unique for a particular plant genus. Highly informative methods such as HPLC-MS and HPLC-MS/MS are used for the separation and selective determination of chosen biomarkers in the case of their poor absorbance at the non-selective wavelength. Present study demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages of the different types of MS detection for the determination of characteristic saponins of different plant species with a sweet taste and aroma - ginseng, abrus and licorice. It is shown that the multiple reaction monitoring for the licorice root biomarker - glycyrrhizin - can provide its selective determination in complex matrixes of plant material, but the presence of other plant components might interfere with the analysis. As an alternative, a technique of selected ion monitoring of sapogenin fragmentation pattern ions was developed. The combination of retention time and the presence of several characteristic fragment ions provided more informative and reliable analysis of the related compounds. Unlike molecular ion detection technique, this approach can unambiguously distinguish compounds with different sapogenin but identical molecular mass in complex mixtures. Applicability of the developed technique was tested during the analysis of unidentified food product - ginseng oolong tea.
- Food supplements
- High performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry