Journal of chromatography. A

High performance thin-layer chromatography-mass spectrometry of Japanese knotweed flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins on silica gel plates.

PMID 28034505


On-line elution based TLC-MS is now a well-established technique, but the quality of the data obtained can sometimes be hampered by a severe spectral background or by strong ion suppression, especially when silica gel plates are used in combination with an acidic modifier in the developing solvent. We solved this issue simply and efficiently using two pre-developments of the plates, firstly with methanol-formic acid (10:1, v/v) and secondly with acetonitrile-methanol (2:1, v/v). This solution resulted in significant improvement in the sensitivity of HPTLC-MS methods. The applicability of this approach was proven on analysis of flavan-3-ols and proanthocyanidins in crude extracts of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica Houtt.) rhizomes. Separations on HPTLC silica gel and HPTLC silica gel MS grade plates using developing solvents toluene-acetone-formic acid (3:3:1, 6:6:1, 3:6:1, v/v) and dichloromethane-acetone-formic acid (1:1:0.1, v/v) were followed by post-chromatographic derivatization with 4-dimethylaminocinnamaldehyde (DMACA) detection reagent. Examination of the stability of the analytes on the start confirmed that the plates should be developed immediately after the application of standards and sample test solutions. In a five hours stability testing after development we discovered an unexpected phenomenon of enhanced absorption at 280nm. However, based on an experiment with post-chromatographic derivatization with DMACA detection reagent, the analytes were proven to be sufficiently stable in the time frame of an HPTLC-MS analysis. This was important for development of the first HPTLC-MS and HPTLC-MS(n) methods for identification of flavan-3-ols and B-type proanthocyanidins from monomers up to decamers. For the first time, based on this research methodology, trimers, trimer gallates, tetramer gallates, pentamers, pentamer gallates, hexamers, hexamer gallates, heptamers, octamers, nonamers and decamers were tentatively identified in Japanese knotweed rhizomes. Additionally, all developed HPTLC-MS methods have enabled simultaneous identification of stilbenes (resveratrol, piceatannol hexoside, piceid) and anthraquinones (emodin, emodin-O-hexoside, emodin-O-(acetyl)-hexoside and emodin-O-(6'-O-malonyl)-hexoside).

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