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Nuclear magnetic resonance and high-performance liquid chromatography techniques for the characterization of bioactive compounds from Humulus lupulus L. (hop)


Humulus lupulus L. (hop) represents one of the most cultivated crops, it being a key ingredient in the brewing process. Many health-related properties have been described for hop extracts, making this plant gain more interest in the field of pharmaceutical and nutraceutical research. Among the analytical tools available for the phytochemical characterization of plant extracts, quantitative nuclear magnetic resonance (qNMR) represents a new and powerful technique. In this ambit, the present study was aimed at the development of a new, simple, and efficient qNMR method for the metabolite fingerprinting of bioactive compounds in hop cones, taking advantage of the novel ERETIC 2 tool. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first attempt to apply this method to complex matrices of natural origin, such as hop extracts. The qNMR method set up in this study was applied to the quantification of both prenylflavonoids and bitter acids in eight hop cultivars. The performance of this analytical method was compared with that of HPLC-UV/DAD, which represents the most frequently used technique in the field of natural product analysis. The quantitative data obtained for hop samples by means of the two aforementioned techniques highlighted that the amount of bioactive compounds was slightly higher when qNMR was applied, although the order of magnitude of the values was the same. The accuracy of qNMR was comparable to that of the chromatographic method, thus proving to be a reliable tool for the analysis of these secondary metabolites in hop extracts.

Graphical abstract related to the extraction and analytical methods applied in this work for the analysis of bioactive compounds in Humulus lupulus L. (hop) cones

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This work was carried out thanks to a grant awarded to Anna Reik for her master thesis work in the lab of Dr. Federica Pellati and Dr. Davide Bertelli at the Department of Life Sciences of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Italy), in the ambit of the Erasmus+ Program.

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Correspondence to Federica Pellati.

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Published in the topical collection Discovery of Bioactive Compounds with guest editors Aldo Laganà, Anna Laura Capriotti and Chiara Cavaliere.

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Bertelli, D., Brighenti, V., Marchetti, L. et al. Nuclear magnetic resonance and high-performance liquid chromatography techniques for the characterization of bioactive compounds from Humulus lupulus L. (hop). Anal Bioanal Chem 410, 3521–3531 (2018).

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  • Humulus lupulus L.
  • Hop
  • Prenylflavonoids
  • Bitter acids
  • qNMR
  • HPLC