Quantification of the predominant monomeric catechins in baking chocolate standard reference material by LC/APCI-MS

Author(s): Nelson BC, Sharpless KE


Catechins are polyphenolic plant compounds (flavonoids) that may offer significant health benefits to humans. These benefits stem largely from their anticarcinogenic, antioxidant, and antimutagenic properties. Recent epidemiological studies suggest that the consumption of flavonoid-containing foods is associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Chocolate is a natural cocoa bean-based product that reportedly contains high levels of monomeric, oligomeric, and polymeric catechins. We have applied solid-liquid extraction and liquid chromatography coupled with atmospheric pressure chemical ionization-mass spectrometry to the identification and determination of the predominant monomeric catechins, (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin, in a baking chocolate Standard Reference Material (NIST Standard Reference Material 2384). (+)-Catechin and (-)-epicatechin are detected and quantified in chocolate extracts on the basis of selected-ion monitoring of their protonated [M + H](+) molecular ions. Tryptophan methyl ester is used as an internal standard. The developed method has the capacity to accurately quantify as little as 0.1 microg/mL (0.01 mg of catechin/g of chocolate) of either catechin in chocolate extracts, and the method has additionally been used to certify (+)-catechin and (-)-epicatechin levels in the baking chocolate Standard Reference Material. This is the first reported use of liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry for the quantitative determination of monomeric catechins in chocolate and the only report certifying monomeric catechin levels in a food-based Standard Reference Material.

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