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Liquid Chromatographic Determination of St. John's Wort Components in Functional Foods

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A method was developed for determination of St. John's wort marker compounds hypericin, pseudohypericin, hyperforin, and adhyperforin in functional foods. Solid-phase extraction provided analyte extraction and significant sample cleanup prior to analysis using liquid chromatography (LC) with UV and fluorescence detection. In addition to quantification using LC-UV, confirmation was made with electrospray ionization LC mass spectrometry (LC/MS). Several commercially available tea and drink products claiming to contain St. John's wort were tested. Recoveries ranged from 51 to 98% for the liquid samples. Comparison of the concentrations in 4 St. John's wort teas showed a variation in analyte concentration (1044–10 ng/mL marker compounds in brewed tea) and composition. No marker compounds were found in the beverages, indicating possible decomposition of the marker compounds caused by low pH and/or exposure to light. A solvent extraction procedure was developed for analysis of the marker compounds from solid samples. Analytes were detected at low. parts per million, with an average recovery of 75% No St. John's wort components were found in the 2 solid functional food samples analyzed.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, 5100 Paint Branch Pkwy, College Park, MD 20740.

Publication date: September 1, 2004

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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