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PLoS One. 2014 Feb 14;9(2):e88762. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0088762. eCollection 2014.

Development and optimisation of an HPLC-DAD-ESI-Q-ToF method for the determination of phenolic acids and derivatives.

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Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale, Università di Pisa, Pisa, Italy.


A method for the HPLC-MS/MS analysis of phenols, including phenolic acids and naphtoquinones, using an amide-embedded phase column was developed and compared to the literature methods based on classical C18 stationary phase columns. RP-Amide is a recently developed polar embedded stationary phase, whose wetting properties mean that up to 100% water can be used as an eluent. The increased retention and selectivity for polar compounds and the possibility of working in 100% water conditions make this column particularly interesting for the HPLC analysis of phenolic acids and derivatives. In this study, the chromatographic separation was optimised on an HPLC-DAD, and was used to separate 13 standard phenolic acids and derivatives. The method was validated on an HPLC-ESI-Q-ToF. The acquisition was performed in negative polarity and MS/MS target mode. Ionisation conditions and acquisition parameters for the Q-ToF detector were investigated by working on collision energies and fragmentor potentials. The performance of the method was fully evaluated on standards. Moreover, several raw materials containing phenols were analysed: walnut, gall, wine, malbec grape, French oak, red henna and propolis. Our method allowed us to characterize the phenolic composition in a wide range of matrices and to highlight possible matrix effects.

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