Journal of chromatography. B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences

Determination of thymol in human plasma by automated headspace solid-phase microextraction-gas chromatographic analysis.

PMID 11863281


A reliable and sensitive method was developed for determination of thymol in human plasma by automated headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME). After enzymatic cleavage of thymol sulfate thymol was extracted by a 65 microm polydimethylsiloxane-divinylbenzene crimped fiber (Supelco) after addition of sodium chloride and phosphoric acid (85%). Desorption of the fiber was performed in the injection port of a gas chromatograph at 220 degrees C (HP 5890; 50 m x 0.2 mm I.D., 0.2 microm HP Innowax capillary column; flame ionization detection). Fibers were used repeatedly up to 40 analysis. The recovery was 5% after 35 min of extraction. The calibration curve was linear in the range of 8.1-203.5 ng ml(-1) with a limit of quantitation (LOQ) of 8.1 ng ml(-1). The within-day and between-day precision and accuracy were < or = 20% at the LOQ and <15% at higher concentrations according to international guidelines for validation of bioanalytical methods. After administration of a thymol-containing herbal extract only thymol sulfate, no free thymol, could be detected in human plasma, thus analysis of thymol was after enzymatic cleavage of thymol sulfate. It is concluded that the newly developed automated method can be used in clinical trials on bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of thymol-containing herbal medicinal products.