Analysis of flavonoids in honey by HPLC coupled with coulometric electrode array detection and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry


The analysis of flavonoids in unifloral honeys by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) coupled with coulometric electrode array detection (CEAD) is described. The compounds were extracted by a nonionic polymeric resin (Amberlite XAD-2) and then separated on a reversed phase column using gradient elution. Quercetin, naringenin, hesperetin, luteolin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, and galangin were detected in a coulometric electrode array detection system between +300 and +800 mV against palladium reference electrodes, and their presence was additionally confirmed by HPLC coupled with electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. The method was applied to analysis of 19 honeys of different varieties and origin. The limits of detection and quantitation ranged between 1.6 and 8.3 μg/kg and 3.9 and 27.4 μg/kg, respectively. The recoveries were above 96% in fluid and above 89% in creamy honeys. Some of these honeys (melon, pumpkin, cherry blossom, dandelion, maple, and pine tree honey) were investigated for their flavonoid content and profile for the first time. Differences between honeys were observed both in flavonoid concentrations and in the flavonoid profiles. The flavonoid concentrations ranged from 0.015 to 3.4 mg/kg honey. Galangin, kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, and luteolin were detected in all investigated honeys, whereas hesperetin occurred only in lemon and orange honeys and naringenin in lemon, orange, rhododendron, rosemary, and cherry blossom honeys.

Electrode array detection

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Correspondence to Gerhard Sontag.

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Published in the special issue Analytical Sciences in Austria with Guest Editors G. Allmaier, W. Buchberger, and K. Francesconi.

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Petrus, K., Schwartz, H. & Sontag, G. Analysis of flavonoids in honey by HPLC coupled with coulometric electrode array detection and electrospray ionization mass spectrometry. Anal Bioanal Chem 400, 2555–2563 (2011).

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  • Honeys
  • Flavonoid profiles