Sensitive quantification of six steroidal lactones inWithania coagulansextract by UHPLC electrospray tandem mass spectrometry

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A method for the concurrent determination of six known steroidal lactones (syn. withanolides or withasteroids), namely withaferin A, withanolide H, withanolide K, withanolide A, withacoagulin H, and withanolide J in Withania coagulans extracts was developed. Extracts of Withania species and purified withanolides are considered among the most important natural products used for medicinal purposes. Methanolic extract of plant material was subjected to reverse phase ultra-high performance liquid chromatography (UHPLC) coupled with electrospray (JetStream ESI) triple quadrupole mass spectrometer operated in the Multiple Reaction Monitoring (MRM) mode. Satisfactory separation of withanolide component was achieved within 9 min on UHPLC runtime. The limits of detection (LOD) and the limits of quantitation (LOQs) for the six withanolides ranged between 0.040–4.80 ng/mL, and 0.13–16 ng/mL, respectively. Linear responses were attained for all six withanolides in two orders of magnitude with the linear regression coefficient values ≥0.998. At the five QC levels inspected, the relative standard deviations (RSD) were found below 5% in most cases. The newly developed method is fast, precise, and sensitive, therefore, the method can be used for high-throughput quantification of various withanolides in W. coagulans extract, and other herbal formulations, derived from W. coagulans.

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