Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 407, Issue 17, pp 5133–5142 | Cite as

Quantification of tocopherols and tocotrienols in soybean oil by supercritical-fluid chromatography coupled to high-resolution mass spectrometry

  • Marie Méjean
  • Alain Brunelle
  • David TouboulEmail author
Research Paper
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Lipidomics


For the most effective analytical strategies, development and validation include optimization of such analytical variables as resolution, detectability, sensitivity, simplicity, cost effectiveness, flexibility, and speed. However, other aspects concerning operator safety and environmental impact are not considered at the same level. The result has been many unintended negative effects of analytical methods developed to investigate different kinds of sample, especially hydrophobic compounds that generate a large amount of chemical waste and have a strong negative environmental impact. In this context, quantification of tocopherols and tocotrienols, i.e. the vitamin E family, is usually achieved by normal-phase liquid chromatography using large volumes of toxic organic solvents, or reversed-phase liquid chromatography using a high percentage of methanol for elution. We propose here a “greener” analytical strategy, including the hyphenation of supercritical-fluid chromatography, using CO2 and ethanol as mobile phase, NH2 as stationary phase, and mass spectrometry for the detection and quantification of vitamin E congeners in soybean oil. An atmospheric-pressure photoionization (APPI) source seemed significantly more sensitive and robust than electrospray or atmospheric-pressure chemical ionization (APCI). This method led to shortened analysis time (less than 5 min) and was revealed to be as sensitive as more traditional approaches, with limits of detection and quantification in the tens of μg L−1.

Graphical Abstract

SFC-MS analysis of vitamin E compounds


Tocopherol Tocotrienol Vitamin E Supercritical-fluid chromatography Mass spectrometry Soybean oil 



M.M. is indebted to the Region Île-de-France for a Ph.D. research fellowship. Agilent Technologies is warmly thanked for the loan of the SFC–UV system.

Supplementary material

216_2015_8604_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (327 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 326 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles, UPR2301, CNRSGif-sur-YvetteFrance

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