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Authentication of true cinnamon (Cinnamon verum) utilising direct analysis in real time (DART)-QToF-MS

Avula, Bharathi, Smillie, Troy J., Wang, Yan-Hong, Zweigenbaum, Jerry, Khan, Ikhlas A.
Food additives & contaminants 2015 v.32 no.1 pp. 1
Cinnamomum aromaticum, ions, Cinnamomum verum, bark, cations, cinnamon, computer software, coumarin, food analysis, markets, mass spectrometry, plant identification, principal component analysis, rapid methods
The use of cinnamon as a spice and flavouring agent is widespread throughout the world. Many different species of plants are commonly referred to as ‘cinnamon’. ‘True cinnamon’ refers to the dried inner bark of Cinnamomum verum J. S. Presl (syn. C. zeylanicum) (Lauraceae). Other ‘cinnamon’ species, C. cassia (Nees & T. Nees) J. Presl (syn. C. aromaticum Nees) (Chinese cassia), C. loureiroi Nees (Saigon cassia), and C. burmannii (Nees & T. Nees) Blume (Indonesian cassia), commonly known as cassia, are also marketed as cinnamon. Since there is a prevalence of these various types of ‘cinnamons’ on the market, there is a need to develop a rapid technique that can readily differentiate between true cinnamon (C. verum) and other commonly marketed species. In the present study, coumarin and other marker compounds indicative of ‘cinnamon’ were analysed using DART-QToF-MS in various samples of cinnamon. This method involved the use of [ M + H] ⁺ ions in positive mode in addition to principal component analysis (PCA) using Mass Profiler Professional software to visualise several samples for quality and to discriminate ‘true cinnamon’ from other Cinnamomum species using the accurate mass capabilities of QToF-MS.