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J Nat Prod. 2017 Mar 24;80(3):634-647. doi: 10.1021/acs.jnatprod.6b00923. Epub 2017 Jan 9.

Evolution of Quantitative Measures in NMR: Quantum Mechanical qHNMR Advances Chemical Standardization of a Red Clover (Trifolium pratense) Extract.

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PERCH Solutions Ltd. , Puijonkatu 24 B 5, 70110 Kuopio, Finland.


Chemical standardization, along with morphological and DNA analysis ensures the authenticity and advances the integrity evaluation of botanical preparations. Achievement of a more comprehensive, metabolomic standardization requires simultaneous quantitation of multiple marker compounds. Employing quantitative 1H NMR (qHNMR), this study determined the total isoflavone content (TIfCo; 34.5-36.5% w/w) via multimarker standardization and assessed the stability of a 10-year-old isoflavone-enriched red clover extract (RCE). Eleven markers (nine isoflavones, two flavonols) were targeted simultaneously, and outcomes were compared with LC-based standardization. Two advanced quantitative measures in qHNMR were applied to derive quantities from complex and/or overlapping resonances: a quantum mechanical (QM) method (QM-qHNMR) that employs 1H iterative full spin analysis, and a non-QM method that uses linear peak fitting algorithms (PF-qHNMR). A 10 min UHPLC-UV method provided auxiliary orthogonal quantitation. This is the first systematic evaluation of QM and non-QM deconvolution as qHNMR quantitation measures. It demonstrates that QM-qHNMR can account successfully for the complexity of 1H NMR spectra of individual analytes and how QM-qHNMR can be built for mixtures such as botanical extracts. The contents of the main bioactive markers were in good agreement with earlier HPLC-UV results, demonstrating the chemical stability of the RCE. QM-qHNMR advances chemical standardization by its inherent QM accuracy and the use of universal calibrants, avoiding the impractical need for identical reference materials.

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