Journal of pharmaceutical and biomedical analysis

Selection of reference standard during method development using the analytical hierarchy process.

PMID 25636165


Reference standard is critical for ensuring reliable and accurate method performance. One important issue is how to select the ideal one from the alternatives. Unlike the optimization of parameters, the criteria of the reference standard are always immeasurable. The aim of this paper is to recommend a quantitative approach for the selection of reference standard during method development based on the analytical hierarchy process (AHP) as a decision-making tool. Six alternative single reference standards were assessed in quantitative analysis of six phenolic acids from Salvia Miltiorrhiza and its preparations by using ultra-performance liquid chromatography. The AHP model simultaneously considered six criteria related to reference standard characteristics and method performance, containing feasibility to obtain, abundance in samples, chemical stability, accuracy, precision and robustness. The priority of each alternative was calculated using standard AHP analysis method. The results showed that protocatechuic aldehyde is the ideal reference standard, and rosmarinic acid is about 79.8% ability as the second choice. The determination results successfully verified the evaluation ability of this model. The AHP allowed us comprehensive considering the benefits and risks of the alternatives. It was an effective and practical tool for optimization of reference standards during method development.