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Comparison of Various Dilutions and Solid-Phase Extraction Cleanup on the Determination of Ephedrine-Type Alkaloids and Internal Standard Recovery in Ephedra Botanical Raw Material and Powdered Extract

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A study was conducted to determine the effect of 3 dilution levels on the precision of the ephedra alkaloid method when used in conjunction with a solid-phase extraction (SPE) column. For the dilutions studied, SPE column cleanup is necessary because it promotes a greater recovery of the internal standard. However, overall, target precision values were not obtained on the test materials. It was determined that the SPE column is not the cause of the lower recovery in the more concentrated solutions. Significant signal suppression of the internal standard occurs in more concentrated solutions within the mass spectrometer. It is hypothesized that this lack of performance on the part of the SPE column may be linked to its inability to fully clean contaminants from the higher concentration solutions and/or a mass spectrometer overload, which resulted in the internal standard not fully correcting for signal suppression in more concentrated solutions. An internal standard is necessary, especially for accuracy, for the determination of all alkaloids, and only dilute solutions can be accurately analyzed. Due to the sensitivity of the mass spectrometer, it is recommended that the determination of ephedrine alkaloids in dietary supplements and botanicals should be studied using a standard graph at a level 10× less than the current method. It is also recommended that the SPE column used should be evaluated on its need for the sample dilutions made to fit the newly recommended standard graph.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Covance Laboratories, 3301 Kinsman Blvd, Madison, WI 53704.

Publication date: 2005-07-01

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  • 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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