Development of an in-line HPLC fingerprint ion-trap mass spectrometric method for identification and quality control ofRadix Scrophulariae

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Abstract

Chromatographic fingerprinting has been widely accepted as a crucial method for qualitative and quantitative analyses of bioactives within traditional Chinese medicine. A fingerprint provides detailed information, specific for any given herb, thus facilitating the quality control measures of a given traditional Chinese medicine. In this article, quality assessment of Radix Scrophulariae was achieved by using high performance liquid chromatography combining diode-array detection and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (HPLC–DAD–ESI/MS). Eight batches of sample obtained from different origins in China were used to establish the fingerprint and quantitative analyses. By comparing the retention times, UV and MS spectral data with reference standards, four characteristic peaks in the chromatograms were confirmed as corresponding to acetoside, angoroside C, cinnamic acid, and harpagoside. In addition, other two characteristic peaks were tentatively identified, following the literature interpretation of HPLC–ESI-MS and LC–MS/MS (affording structural information) to be sibirioside A and scrophuloside B4, respectively. The results indicated that the newly developed HPLC–DAD–MS fingerprint method would be suitable for quality control of Radix Scrophulariae.

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