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Ion mobility‐mass spectrometry for the separation and analysis of procyanidins

Rue, Emily A., Glinski, Jan A., Glinski, Vitold B., van Breemen, Richard B.
Journal of mass spectrometry 2020 v.55 no.2 pp. e4377
antioxidants, bioactive properties, catechin, chemical bonding, cranberries, epicatechin, high performance liquid chromatography, ions, mass spectrometry, polymerization, polymers, procyanidins
Procyanidins are polymeric flavan‐3‐ones occurring in many plants with antioxidant and other beneficial bioactivities. They are composed of catechin and epicatechin monomeric units connected by single carbon‐carbon B‐type linkages or A‐type linkages containing both carbon‐carbon and carbon‐oxygen‐carbon bonds. Their polymeric structure makes analysis of procyanidin mixtures always difficult. Evaluation of procyanidins according to degree of polymerization (DP) using high‐performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is time‐consuming and at best has resolved polymeric families up to DP‐17. To expedite studies of procyanidins, the utility of positive ion electrospray ion mobility‐mass spectrometry (IM‐MS) was investigated for the rapid separation and characterization of procyanidins in mixtures. Applying IM‐MS to analyse structurally defined standards containing up to five subunits, procyanidins could be resolved in less than 6 ms not only by degree of polymerization but also by linkage type. A‐type procyanidins could be resolved from B‐type and both could be at least partially resolved from mixed‐type procyanidins of the same DP. IM‐MS separated higher order procyanidins with DP of at least 24 from extracts of cranberry. As DP increased, the abundances of multiply‐charged procyanidins also increased. During IM‐MS of ions of similar m/z, the ion drift times decreased inversely with increasing charge state. Therefore, IM‐MS was shown to separate mixtures of procyanidins containing at least 24 interconnected subunits in less than 16 ms, not only according to DP, but also according to linkage type between subunits and charge state.