Evaluation of the Presence of 1,3-Dimethylamylamine in Pelargonium Leaves and Essential Oils by Mass Spectrometric and Chromatographic Methods

  • Maíra Kerpel dos SantosEmail author
  • Gabriela Blauth Walber
  • Tainá Kreutz
  • Krissie Soares
  • Leticia Jacobi Danielli
  • Kristiane de Cassia Mariotti
  • Mara Ritter
  • Glen P. Jackson
  • Luis E. Arroyo
  • Renata Pereira Limberger
Short Communication


1,3-Dimethylamylamine (DMAA) is known to be added to dietary supplements from synthetic sources and, presumably, from natural geranium oil. However, the natural occurrence of DMAA in geranium oil (Pelargonium graveolens) has been controversial as published studies report contradicting findings. It is unclear if the difference in detection of DMMA in Pelargonium species is a result of the loss during extraction methods, different detection capabilities of analytical methods or if the content of DMAA is dependent of the species and geographical origins. Consequently, the purpose of this study is threefold: (1) to compare the analytical performance of mass spectrometry methods for the detection of DMMA, including GC/MS, DART–MS/MS and LC–MS/MS; (2) to evaluate if DMMA is lost during the extraction of essential oils from Pelargonium leaves of species from Brazil testing headspace extraction, and (3) to evaluate if DMMA is naturally present in a variety of essential oils originating from six countries. This study shows that for detection of more volatile compounds, headspace GC–MS proved to be more favorable than hydrodistilled essential oil analyzed by direct injection in GC–MS. DART–MS/MS showed to be a good alternative for identification of essential oils compounds and DMAA without sample preparation; LC–MS/MS proved to be sensitive for DMMA identification. Nevertheless, even after the analysis using mentioned methods, all essential oils and for the first time, the volatile components extracted from leaves, showed to be absent of DMAA, proving that its presence is not natural in these species.

Graphical Abstract


1,3-Dimethylamylamine DMAA Pelargonium Headspace Essential oil 



The authors are thankful to CAPES-scholarship (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior), CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) and FAPERGS (Fundação de Amparo à pesquisa do Estado do RS) (PqG 02/2014) by financial support; and to Laszlo Aromaterapia- Ltda, Brazil, Ferquima Ltda and Verbena Ltda for donation of essential oils.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Supplementary material

10337_2019_3715_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (365 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 365 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maíra Kerpel dos Santos
    • 1
    Email author
  • Gabriela Blauth Walber
    • 1
  • Tainá Kreutz
    • 1
  • Krissie Soares
    • 1
  • Leticia Jacobi Danielli
    • 1
  • Kristiane de Cassia Mariotti
    • 2
  • Mara Ritter
    • 3
  • Glen P. Jackson
    • 4
  • Luis E. Arroyo
    • 4
  • Renata Pereira Limberger
    • 1
  1. 1.Graduate Program of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Toxicology Laboratory, Faculty of PharmacyFederal University of Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Federal Police, Superintendence of the Federal Police of Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.Graduate Program of Botanic, Bioscience InstituteFederal University of Rio Grande do SulPorto AlegreBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Forensic and Investigative ScienceWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA

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