GC–MS and LC–MS/MS workflows for the identification and quantitation of pyrrolizidine alkaloids in plant extracts, a case study: Echium plantagineum


Rev. bras. farmacogn.




Abstract Workflows based on gas and liquid chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry for the identification of toxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids present in plants were developed and applied to Echium plantagineum L., Boraginaceae, extracts. GC–MS based determinations need reduction and derivatization steps prior to MS analysis, which is performed using a Full Scan and Single Ion Monitoring sequence for screening, identification and quantification purposes. The LC–(ESI)–MS/MS determination was performed directly from the extract without derivatization. Acetyl lycopsamine, echimidine, echimidine N-oxide, echiumine, echiumine N-oxide, lycopsamine, lycopsamine N-oxide, 7,9-ditigloylretronecine N-oxide and a not reported PA of m/z 466, were identified and quantified in E. plantagineum extracts, through three operating modes of LC-QTRAP: precursor ion scan, enhanced product ion scan and multiple reaction monitoring. Precursor ion scan detects all the ions that give rise to a daughter ion at m/z 120, the presence of the parent pyrrolizidine alkaloid is confirmed through its MS2 spectrum (enhanced product ion) and quantified by multiple reaction monitoring. These workflows are general approaches to study chemical families using GC/LC-MS. For extracts suspicious of containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids, they are suitable tools for the quality and safety control of food, feed as well as phytotherapeutics.

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