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

Simultaneous determination of flavonoid and alkaloid compounds in Citrus herbs by high-performance liquid chromatography-photodiode array detection-electrospray mass spectrometry.

PMID 17689302


The major active biological constituents in Citrus herbs are flavonoids, especially hesperidin, naringin and alkaloids, mainly synephrine, with beneficial medical effects on human health. They are used as the markers to control the quality of Citrus herbs. In this paper, a new ion pairing chromatographic method was developed to exclude the most polar solute (synephrine) from the viod volume and to maintain selectivity between the two other solutes (hesperidin and naringin). Perfluorinated carboxylic acids, which are appropriate for MS detection due to their volatility, were used as ion-pairing agents. The problems of the synephrine separation, such as band tailing and low retention, were solved successfully by using perfluorinated carboxylic acids. The effect of heptafluorobutyric acid (HFBA) was the best in the three investigated perfluorinated carboxylic acids. For the flavanone glycosides, the influence of the perfluorinated acids on retention time was rather weak. The two different kinds of the analytes were separated satisfactorily in one run using an isocratic eluent and the total analysis time takes less than 10 min. The abundance of pseudomolecular ions was recorded using selected ion monitoring (SIM) mode of m/z 135.1, 273.1 and 303.1 for synephrine, naringin and hesperidin, respectively. The contents of hesperidin, naringin and synephrine in several Citrus herbs were simultaneously determined by the proposed method.