Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry fingerprinting of propolis

Alexandra C H F Sawaya, Daniela M Tomazela, Ildenize B S Cunha, Vassya S Bankova, Maria C Marcucci, Angela R Custodio, Marcos N Eberlin
Analyst 2004, 129 (8): 739-44
Crude ethanolic extracts of propolis, a natural resin, have been directly analysed using electrospray ionization mass (ESI-MS) and tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) in the negative ion mode. European, North American and African samples have been analyzed, but emphasis has been given to Brazilian propolis which displays diverse and region-dependent chemical composition. ESI-MS provides characteristic fingerprint mass spectra, with propolis samples being divided into well-defined groups directly related to their geographical origins. Chemometric multivariate analysis statistically demonstrates the reliability of the ESI-MS fingerprinting method for propolis. On-line ESI-MS/MS tandem mass spectrometry of characteristic [M - H](-) ion markers provides an additional dimension of fingerprinting selectivity, while structurally characterizing the ESI-MS marker components of propolis. By comparison with standards, eight such markers have been identified: para-coumaric acid, 3-methoxy-4-hydroxycinnamaldehyde, 2,2-dimethyl-6-carboxyethenyl-2H-1-benzopyran, 3-prenyl-4-hydroxycinnamic acid, chrysin, pinocembrin, 3,5-diprenyl-4-hydroxycinnamic acid and dicaffeoylquinic acid. The negative mode ESI-MS fingerprinting method is capable of discerning distinct composition patterns to typify, to screen the sample origin and to reveal characteristic details of the more polar and acidic chemical components of propolis samples from different regions of the world.

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