Analytical and bioanalytical chemistry

Simultaneous determination of bufadienolides and phenolic compounds in sea squill (Drimia maritima (L.) Stearn) by HPLC-DAD-MSn as a means to differentiate individual plant parts and developmental stages.

PMID 25027721


Mediterranean sea squill (Drimia maritima (L.) Stearn) is used in the production of medicinal products. Current HPLC methods comprise tedious sample clean-up and have been merely focused on the analysis of cardiac glycosides, whereas a thorough characterization of D. maritima considering both the latter compound class and more hydrophilic secondary metabolites in one HPLC run has not been performed so far. Consequently, a novel HPLC-DAD-MS(n) method has been developed allowing the simultaneous determination of both cardiac glycosides and phenolic compounds, which is characterized by simplified sample preparation. This method was applied to characterize sea squill, revealing a complex profile of its extractive compounds derived from the two classes. Furthermore, the potential of the method reported here to quantitate the predominant compounds, i.e., dihydroquercetin derivatives and bufadienolides, was demonstrated. The occurrence of phenolic compounds, not described for sea squill so far, and of characteristic compounds specific to individual plant parts or vegetation stages was further addressed. The data revealed that classification of various vegetation phases based on quantitative evaluation of bufadienolides and dihydroquercetin derivatives applying principal component analysis (PCA) appears possible. Thus, the methodology presented here forms the basis for future routine application in quality control of raw materials and pharmaceutical preparations derived from sea squill. This will allow systematic comparison of different plant parts, vegetation stages and origins based on an extended sample set.