Development and validation of a rapid capillary zone electrophoresis method for the determination of aconite alkaloids in aconite roots

Jing Zheng Song, Quan Bin Han, Chun Feng Qiao, Paul Pui Hay But, Hong Xi Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction - Aconites, with aconite alkaloids as the major therapeutic and toxic components, are used for the treatment of analgesic, antirheumatic and neurological symptoms. Quantification of the aconite alkaloids is important for the quality control of aconite-containing drugs. Objective - To establish a validated capillary zone electrophoresis (CZE) method for the simultaneous determination of six major alkaloids, namely aconitine, mesaconitine, hypaconitine, benzoylaconine, benzoylmesaconine and benzoylhypaconine, in crude and processed aconite roots. Methodology - The CZE method was optimised and validated using a stability-indicating method. The optimised running buff er was a mixture of 200 mM Tris, 150 mM perchloric acid and 40% 1,4-dioxane (pH 7.8) with the capillary thermostated at 25°C. Results - Using the optimised method, six aconite alkaloids were well separated. The established method showed good precision, accuracy and recovery. Contents of these alkaloids in crude and processed aconites were determined and it was observed that the levels of individual alkaloids varied between samples. Conclusion - The developed CZE method was reliable for the quality control of aconites contained in herbal medicines. The method could also be used as an approach for toxicological studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-143
Number of pages7
JournalPhytochemical Analysis
Issue number2
Early online date6 Oct 2009
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2010

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Food Science
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Plant Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Complementary and alternative medicine

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aconitine
  • Benzoylaconine
  • Benzoylhypaconine: Aconite roots
  • Benzoylmesaconine
  • Capillary zone electrophoresis
  • Hypaconitine
  • Mesaconitine
  • Stability-indicating method


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