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Quantitation of Piperine in Pepper Fruits using High Performance Liquid Chromatography Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry in Combination with a Purpose-synthesized Stable Isotope Labelled Internal Standard

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Title: Quantitation of Piperine in Pepper Fruits using High Performance Liquid Chromatography Electrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry in Combination with a Purpose-synthesized Stable Isotope Labelled Internal Standard
Author(s): Vázquez Mireles, Sigifredo
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Science
Degree program: Master's Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences
Specialisation: Chemistry
Language: English
Acceptance year: 2021
Piperine represents the major plant alkaloid encountered in various Piperaceae species and has received in recent years considerable attention because of its broad range of favorable biological and pharmacological activities, including antioxidant, immunostimulant, bioavailability-enhancing and anti-carcinogenic properties. The literature part of this thesis gives a selective overview of advanced methods for the quantitative analysis of piperine in plant-base materials, and various approaches employed for instrumental analysis, including spectroscopic, chromatographic, and electrochemical techniques. An effort was made to evaluate the potential of the reported methods based on the analytical figures of merit, such as total sample throughput capacity, analytical range, precision, accuracy, limit of detection and limit of quantification. The objective of the experimental part of the thesis focused on the development of a convenient, robust, simple, efficient and reliable method to quantify piperine in pepper fruits. The analytical method established in this thesis involves liberation of piperine by continuous liquid extraction of ground pepper fruits with methanol, and cleanup of the crude extracts with reversed phase solid phase extraction. Analyte quantitation was accomplished using gradient reversed phase High Performance Liquid Chromatography with mass spectrometric detection, using Electrospray Ionization-Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry. To enable reliable internal standardization, deuterium labelled piperine surrogate (piperine-D10) was synthesized from piperine in three steps in a reasonable overall yield (65 %) and standard-level purity (99.7 %). It may be worth mentioning that the commercial market value of the amount of piperine-D10 synthesized in-house exceeds 167,400 euros. One of the major challenges encountered during the development and optimization of the analytical method was the extreme photosensitivity of piperine and piperine-D10, both suffering in solution extensive photoisomerization upon exposure to ambient light within matter of minutes. This issue was addressed by carrying out all tasks associated with synthesis, sample preparation and analytical measurements under dark conditions. For the preparation of calibrators, a fully automated procedure was developed, being controlled by custom-written injector programs and executed in the light-protected sample compartment of a conventional autosampler module. In terms of merits, the developed analytical method offers good sample throughput capacity (run time 20 min, retention time 8.2 min), excellent selectivity and high sensitivity (Limit of Detection= 0.012 ppm, Limit of Quantification= 0.2 ppm). The method is applicable over a linear range of 0.4 to 20 ng of injected mass (r2= 0.999). The stability of standards and fully processed samples was found to be excellent, with less than 5% of variations in concentrations occurring after a 3-week (calibrators) or 4-month (samples) storage at 4 °C and 23 °C respectively, under dark conditions. Intra-day repeatability were better than 2.95 %. Preliminary validation data also suggest satisfactory inter-operator reproducibility. To test the applicability of the developed LC-MS method, it was employed to quantify piperine in a set of 15 pepper fruit samples, including black, white, red and green varieties of round and long peppers, purchased from local markets and retailers. The piperine contents obtained were in the range of 17.28 to 56.25 mg/g (piperine/minced sample) and generally in good agreement with the values reported in the scientific literature. It is justified to assume that the developed analytical method may directly be applicable to the quantitation of related pepper alkaloids in herbal commodities, and after some modifications in the sample preparation strategy, also for the monitoring of piperine in biological fluids, such as serum and urine.
Keyword(s): Piperine Analysis High Performance Liquid Chromatography Electrospray Ionization Ion Trap Mass Spectrometry Method Validation Internal Standard Piperine-D10 Solid Phase Extraction Synthesis of Deuterated Labelled Compounds Moisture Analysis of Peppers.

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