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J Biosci Bioeng. 2012 Jun;113(6):782-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiosc.2012.01.017. Epub 2012 Feb 29.

Highly sensitive and rapid profiling method for carotenoids and their epoxidized products using supercritical fluid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry.

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Department of Biotechnology, Graduate School of Engineering, Osaka University, 2-1 Yamadaoka, Suita, Osaka 565-0871, Japan.


Epoxy carotenoids, which are products of carotenoid oxidation, are potential oxidative stress markers. However, it is difficult to profile epoxy carotenoids owing to their small amount and difficulty in their separation from hydroxy carotenoids. In this study, a high-performance analytical system based on supercritical fluid chromatography (SFC) coupled with tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) was developed for the simultaneous analysis of carotenoids and epoxy carotenoids. SFC is an effective separation technique for hydrophobic compounds, by which major carotenoids in human serum and their epoxidation products can be analyzed within 20 min. The use of MS/MS increased the sensitivity; the detection limit for each carotenoid was of the sub-fmol order. When the constructed method was applied to biological samples such as human serum and low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the precise detection of the target carotenoids was disturbed by several isomers. However, highly selective detection of epoxy carotenoids was performed by targeting product ions that were generated with a structure-specific neutral loss of 80Da. Furthermore, the sample volume needed for the analysis was only 0.1ml for the serum, indicating the efficiency of this system in performing small-scale analyses. Using the analytical system developed in this study, highly sensitive and selective analysis of epoxy carotenoids could be performed in a short time. These features show the usefulness of this system in application to screening analysis of carotenoid profiles that are easily modified by oxidative stress.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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