Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 12, Issue 3, pp 677–686 | Cite as

Simultaneous Determination of Six Protoalkaloids in Chinese Local Varieties of Loose-Skin Mandarins and Sweet Oranges by Strong Cation Exchange-High Performance Liquid Chromatography

  • Yaohai ZhangEmail author
  • Bining JiaoEmail author


Six protoalkaloids in the fruits of 34 Chinese local loose-skin mandarins and 25 sweet oranges were detected simultaneously by strong cation exchange-high performance liquid chromatography with an ultraviolet detector (SCX-HPLC-UV). Linear regression analysis showed satisfactory linearity for all the analytes with the correlation coefficients (R2) higher than 0.9998. The satisfactory recoveries of the six protoalkaloids in pulps at two spiked levels ranged from 82.8 to 93.4% (RSDs, 1.5–6.1%) and those of synephrine in peels ranged from 89.3 to 91.9% (RSDs, 4.8–5.3%). The limits of quantification (LOQs) were 0.2 mg kg−1. The proposed method was used to determinate the protoalkaloids in loose-skin mandarins and sweet oranges to evaluate its feasibility and accuracy. The major alkaloid in the tested samples was synephrine, and the predominant alkaloid was N-methyltyramine, followed by octopamine. The variations in alkaloid components and contents were both largely the same for the tested varieties, verifying that alkaloids in plants are genetically controlled.


Protoalkaloids Synephrine Strong cation exchange-high performance liquid chromatography (SCX-HPLC) Loose-skin mandarins Sweet oranges 



This work was supported financially by China Agriculture Research System (No. CARS-26), Fundamental Research Fund for the Central Universities (No. XDJK2017B034), and National Risk Assessment Program for Agricultural Products Quality and Safety (No. GJFP2018004).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Yaohai Zhang declares that he has no conflict of interest. Bining Jiao declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Citrus Research InstituteSouthwest University & Chinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Laboratory of Quality and Safety Risk Assessment for Citrus ProductsMinistry of AgricultureChongqingPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Quality Supervision and Testing Center for Citrus and SeedlingMinistry of AgricultureChongqingPeople’s Republic of China

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