GC–MS and LC–MS approaches for determination of tocopherols and tocotrienols in biological and food matrices

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Tocopherols and tocotrienols, widely described as vitamin E derivatives, have been proven to take part in a number of important biological functions. Among them, antioxidant properties had been investigated and documented in the literature. Since tocochromanols have revealed their plausible beneficial impact on several pathological processes, such as cancerogenesis or cognitive impairment diseases, there is a growing interest in quantitative determination of these compounds in biological fluids, tissues and plant organs. However, due to vitamin E chemical features, such as lipophilic and non-polar characteristics, quantitative determination of the compounds seems to be problematic. In this paper we present current analytical approaches in tocopherols and tocotrienols determination in biological and food matrices with the use of chromatographic techniques, especially gas chromatography (GC) and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with mass spectrometry. Derivatization techniques applied for GC–MS analysis in the case of tocol derivatives, especially silylation and acylation, are described. Significant attention is paid to ionization process of tocopherols and tocotrienols.

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