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J Agric Food Chem. 2011 Jun 22;59(12):6484-91. doi: 10.1021/jf201280z. Epub 2011 Jun 2.

Cuban and Brazilian red propolis: botanical origin and comparative analysis by high-performance liquid chromatography-photodiode array detection/electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry.

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  • 1Dipartimento di Scienze Farmaceutiche e Biomediche, Università€ di Salerno, Via Ponte Don Melillo, 84084 Fisciano, Salerno, Italy.


Chemical composition of propolis depends on the specificity of the local flora at the site of collection and thus on the geographic and climatic characteristics of this place. This paper describes a comparative analysis of Cuban red propolis (CRP), Brazilian red propolis (BRP), and Dalbergia ecastophyllum exudates (DEE) by high-performance liquid chromatography with diode-array detection and tandem mass spectrometry. The aim of this study was to investigate the overall chemical profile and the botanical origin of red propolis and to suggest similarities and differences between samples collected in different tropical regions. Isoliquiritigenin (1), liquiritigenin and naringenin (2 and 17), isoflavones (3-4 and 16), isoflavans (5-7 and 18), and pterocarpans (8-13) were detected in CRP, BRP, and DEE, whereas polyisoprenylated benzophenones (PPBs) guttiferone E/xanthochymol (14a,b) and oblongifolin A (15) were detected only in BRP. Pigments responsible for the red color of DEE and red propolis were also identified as two C30 isoflavans, the new retusapurpurin B (19) and retusapurpurin A (20). PPBs and pigments were isolated and unambiguously characterized by 1D and 2D NMR analysis. These results show that red propolis samples from different tropical zones have a similar chemical composition. DEE is the main red propolis source, but the presence of PPBs in BRP suggests the contribution of different botanical sources for Brazilian samples. This chemical information is important for quality control of red propolis and its commercial products and for biological study.

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