Development and validation of a supercritical fluid chromatography method for the direct determination of enantiomeric purity of provitamin B5 in cosmetic formulations with mass spectrometric detection

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A rapid and efficient chiral supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) method has been developed for the quantitative determination of panthenol enantiomers in cosmetic formulations (cream, lotion, wipe, and exfoliant). Indeed, the pharmacological effect only depends on the D form (Dexpanthenol) thus accurate measurement of its enantiomeric purity in formulated cosmetic products is of interest. The samples were prepared with liquid–liquid extraction followed by solid-phase extraction on Adsorbex amino cartridges. After testing several enantioselective columns in an attempt at reversing the elution order to have the minor enantiomer eluted first, the best separation of enantiomers and internal standard (N-acetyl-l-alanine) was achieved on a 3 μm-amylose-type immobilized polysaccharide chiral stationary phase (Chiralpak IA) in less than 6 min with a simple mobile phase comprising carbon dioxide and 11% methanol pumped at 2.3 mL/min, 25 °C and 150 bar backpressure. Supercritical fluid chromatography coupled to both an optical diode-array detector and a user-friendly single-quadrupole mass spectrometer (Waters QDa) equipped with electrospray ionization source has been used. The on-line coupling ensures the technique to be more informative and improves detection sensitivity, as underivatized panthenol has a poor UV absorption. The limit of quantification (LOQ) achieved with single-ion recording was 0.5 μg/mL. The method was validated in terms of linearity, precision and accuracy and satisfactory results were obtained.

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