3 Biotech

, 8:285 | Cite as

Determination of organic acids for quality evaluation in Coptis herbs by ion chromatography

  • Dongmei Li
  • Lili Zhou
  • Qingwei Wang
  • Yang HeEmail author
Original Article


Coptis herbs are important herbal medicinal materials. The bioactive composition, the quality and medicinal efficacy of these herbs, are determined significantly by their geo-authentic features. Among the effective components of these herbs are seven organic acids (quinic, acetic, formic, tartaric, malic, succinic, and oxalic acids). However, no quantitative data of these seven acids in these herbs are available. Therefore, we developed a method for simultaneous separation and determination of the seven organic acids in Coptis herbs using gradient ion chromatography (mobile phase and gradient were shown in Table 1). The seven acids were separated and determined in no more than 35 min. We found that the organic acid levels in C. teeta was obviously higher than in C. chinensis and C. deltoidea, in particular, the content of quinic acid in C. teeta was about eight times than that in C. chinensis and C. deltoidea. Furthermore, we analyzed the relationships between the contents of organic acids and clinical effects, and found that organic acids (content of total acids or content of quinic acid) could act as an reference ingredient for quality evaluation in Coptis herbs. Our studies would lay the foundation for effective quality evaluation of these herbs.


Coptis herbs Organic acids Ion chromatography Herbal quality 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81303168), the Outstanding Youth Science Foundation of Sichuan Province (Grant No. 2017JQ0015) and the science and technology special fund of Sichuan Provincial Administration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Grant No. 2016Q060).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Medical TechnologyChengdu University of Traditional Chinese MedicineChengduChina
  2. 2.National Institute of Measurement and Testing TechnologyChengduChina
  3. 3.Chengdu Institute of BiologyChinese Academy of SciencesChengduChina

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