Identification of phenolic compounds in aqueous and ethanolic rooibos extracts (Aspalathus linearis) by HPLC-ESI-MS (TOF/IT)


Rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) is a rich source of polyphenols and used to make a mild-tasting tea containing no caffeine, is low in tannins compared to green or black teas, and has antioxidant and antimutagenic/antitumoral properties. In vivo results show that rooibos has beneficial effects upon the lipid profile by decreasing serum triglycerides and cholesterol. In this sense, we have developed a simple and rapid method to separate and characterize simultaneously the polyphenolic compounds in aqueous and ethanolic rooibos extracts using high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to electrospray ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-TOF-MS) and ion trap multiple mass spectrometry (HPLC-ESI-IT-MS2). The phenolic compounds were separated on a C18 column (4.6 × 150 mm, 1.8 μm) with 1% formic acid in water/acetonitrile 90:10 v/v and acetonitrile as mobile phases. The accuracy mass data generated by TOF-MS together with the fragmentation pattern obtained by IT-MS2 experiments confirmed the presence of 25 and 30 phenolic compounds in the aqueous and ethanolic extracts, respectively.

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The authors are grateful to the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science (AGL2008-05108-C03-03), the Andalucian Regional Government Council of Innovation and Science (P07-AGR-02619, P09-CTS-4564, and P10-FQM-6563), and also to the Ministry of National Education of the Republic of Indonesia and University of Andalas for the Directorate General of Higher Education (DGHE) scholarship (Ref.: 2609/D4.4/2008). They thank their English colleague A. L. Tate for revising their English text.

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Correspondence to Antonio Segura-Carretero.

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Iswaldi, I., Arráez-Román, D., Rodríguez-Medina, I. et al. Identification of phenolic compounds in aqueous and ethanolic rooibos extracts (Aspalathus linearis) by HPLC-ESI-MS (TOF/IT). Anal Bioanal Chem 400, 3643–3654 (2011).

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  • Rooibos tea
  • Polyphenols
  • High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)
  • Mass spectrometry (MS)