Rapid analysis of Aurantii Fructus Immaturus (Zhishi) using paper spray ionization mass spectrometry
Paper spray-mass spectrometry (PS-MS) is a rapid, solvent-efficient, and high-throughput analytical method for analyzing complex samples. In this study, a PS-MS method was developed to obtain MS profiles of Aurantii Fructus Immaturus (aka Zhishi in Chinese) in positive and negative ion modes. In combination with multivariate analyses, including principal component analysis and cluster analysis, the PS-MS profiles of 25 batches of Zhishi were discriminated in 25 batches of Citri Reticulatae Pericarpium Viride (aka Qingpi in Chinese; an adulterant of Zhishi). Moreover, a rapid quantitative analysis of synephrine, a prescriptive quality control component of Zhishi listed in the Chinese Pharmacopoeia, was conducted with PS-MS using synephrine-d2 as an internal standard (IS). The linearity range was 1.68–16.8 μg/mL (R2 = 0.9985), the limit of quantitation was 0.5 μg/mL. Relative standard deviations in the intra- and inter-day precision of the MS were 4.87 and 4.90%, respectively. Compared with HPLC results, there was no significant difference in the quantitation of synephrine. This study demonstrated that the PS-MS method is useful for the rapid discrimination and quality control of Zhishi samples.