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Rapid Qualitative and Quantitative Analyses of Proanthocyanidin Oligomers and Polymers by UPLC-MS/MS

Marcia T. Engström, Maija Pälijärvi, Christos Fryganas, John H. Grabber, Irene Mueller-Harvey, Juha-Pekka Salminen
Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 2014 v.62 pp. 3390-3399
depolymerization, electric power, liquid chromatography, plant extracts, polymerization, polymers, proanthocyanidins, procyanidins, quantitative analysis, rapid methods, tandem mass spectrometry
This paper presents the development of a rapid method with ultraperformance liquid chromatography−tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) for the qualitative and quantitative analyses of plant proanthocyanidins directly from crude plant extracts. The method utilizes a range of cone voltages to achieve the depolymerization step in the ion source of both smaller oligomers and larger polymers. The formed depolymerization products are further fragmented in the collision cell to enable their selective detection. This UPLC-MS/MS method is able to separately quantitate the terminal and extension units of the most common proanthocyanidin subclasses, that is, procyanidins and prodelphinidins. The resulting data enable (1) quantitation of the total proanthocyanidin content, (2) quantitation of total procyanidins and prodelphinidins including the procyanidin/ prodelphinidin ratio, (3) estimation of the mean degree of polymerization for the oligomers and polymers, and (4) estimation of how the different procyanidin and prodelphinidin types are distributed along the chromatographic hump typically produced by large proanthocyanidins. All of this is achieved within the 10 min period of analysis, which makes the presented method a significant addition to the chemistry tools currently available for the qualitative and quantitative analyses of complex proanthocyanidin mixtures from plant extracts.