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Determination of Phenolic Acids and Flavonoids in Taraxacum formosanum Kitam by Liquid Chromatography-Tandem Mass Spectrometry Coupled with a Post-Column Derivatization Technique

International Journal of Molecular Sciences
Publication Date
DOI: 10.3390/ijms13010260
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A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method (LC-MS/MS) was developed for the determination of phenolic acids and flavonoids in a medicinal Chinese herb Taraxacum formosanum Kitam. Initially, both phenolic acids and flavonoids were extracted with 50% ethanol in a water-bath at 60 °C for 3 h and eventually separated into acidic fraction and neutral fraction by using a C18 cartridge. A total of 29 compounds were separated within 68 min by employing a Gemini C18 column and a gradient solvent system of 0.1% formic acid and acetonitrile at a flow rate of 1.0 mL/min. Based on the retention behavior as well as absorption and mass spectra, 19 phenolic acids and 10 flavonoids were identified and quantified in T. formosanum, with the former ranging from 14.1 μg/g to 10,870.4 μg/g, and the latter from 9.9 μg/g to 325.8 μg/g. For further identification of flavonoids, a post-column derivatization method involving shift reagents such as sodium acetate or aluminum chloride was used and the absorption spectral characteristics without or with shift reagents were compared. An internal standard syringic acid was used for quantitation of phenolic acids, whereas (±) naringenin was found suitable for quantitation of flavonoids. The developed LC-MS/MS method showed high reproducibility, as evident from the relative standard deviation (RSD) values for intra-day and inter-day variability being 1.0–6.8% and 2.0–7.7% for phenolic acids and 3.7–7.4% and 1.5–8.1% for flavonoids, respectively, and thus may be applied for simultaneous determination of phenolic acids and flavonoids in Chinese herb and nutraceuticals.

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