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Preparative separation of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin from Capsicum frutescens by high-speed counter-current chromatography

Peng, Aihua, Ye, Haoyu, Li, Xia, Chen, Lijuan
Journal of separation science 2009 v.32 no.17 pp. 2967-2973
Capsicum frutescens, capsaicin, countercurrent chromatography, drugs, food additives, high performance liquid chromatography, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, silica gel, thin layer chromatography, China, India
Capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin are two main bioactive components of Capsicum frutescens and are widely used as food additives and drugs in China and India. Due to their similarity in structures, isolation of capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin with traditional methods such as silica gel column chromatography, normal-phase thin-layer chromatography (TLC) becomes difficult. This study involves separating capsaicin and dihydrocapsaicin with sufficient purity and recovery using high-speed counter-current chromatography (HSCCC) with a solvent system composed of n-hexane-ethyl acetate-methanol-water-acetic acid (20:20:20:20:2, v/v/v/v/v). Separation parameters such as sample volume, and sample concentration were first optimized on analytical HSCCC, and then scaled up to preparative HSCCC. 0.65 g capsaicin and 0.28 g dihydrocapsaicin were obtained from 1.2 g crude extract and their purities were 98.5 and 97.8%, respectively. The recoveries of the two compounds were 86.3 and 85.4%, respectively. The purity of the isolated compounds was analyzed by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) and their structures were identified by ¹H nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and ¹³C NMR analysis.