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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2005 Apr;381(7):1401-7. Epub 2005 Mar 22.

Quantitative determination of cationic modified polysaccharides on hair using LC-MS and LC-MS-MS.

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  • 1Beiersdorf AG, Unnastrasse 48, 20245 Hamburg, Germany.


Cationic polysaccharides containing N-hydroxypropyl-N,N,N-trimethylammonium substituents are widely used as conditioning agents for hair-care products. A sensitive method has been developed for the quantitation of these polymers. After acidic extraction from hair the polysaccharides are hydrolyzed using trifluoroacetic acid. The cationic monoglycosides are determined using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS). The developed method is independent of hair treatment. Even hair cut from test persons after customary hair wash can be analyzed. After treatment of natural and bleached hair tresses using a real-life treatment procedure 180 microg and 300 microg of polymer per gram hair were quantified, respectively. Additionally the fragmentation mechanism of the cationic N-hydroxypropyl-N,N,N-trimethylammonium group during electrospray ionization was investigated. A mass loss of 60 Da in combination with loss of a single charge is observed and associated with cleavage of trimethylamine and a proton. It is assumed that this process is promoted by the anionic counter-ion which might be hydroxide in an aqueous environment.

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