Gas chromatography-mass spectrometric determination of total isothiocyanates in Chinese medicinal herbs

Martin M F CHOI*, Shaomin Shuang, H. Y. Lai, S. C. Cheng, Rebecca C.W. Cheng, Bohr K.B. Cheung, Albert W M LEE

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


A gas chromatography-mass spectrometric (GC-MS) method for the determination of total isothiocyanates (ITCs) has been developed based on the quantification of the cyclocondensation product, 1,3-benzodithiole-2-thione, between ITCs and 1,2-benzenedithiol. It was the first analytical application to be applied to the analysis of Chinese medicinal herbs including Laifuzi, Baijiezi, Tinglizi and Hancai, and seeds of commonly consumed vegetables. A considerable variation in ITC contents was observed. The highest concentrations of total ITCs were found to be 20.3 μmol/g in Laifuzi and 12.6 μmol/g in seeds of Chinese kale. The method demonstrates the usefulness of the cyclocondensation of ITCs with 1,2-benzenedithiol reagent for quantifying total ITC contents in Chinese medicinal herbs regardless of the types of ITC. The linear dynamic range covered from 0.12 to 200 μM ITC. The limit of detection (3Sb) was 35 nM and the corresponding absolute detection limit was 35 fmol. The proposed GC-MS technique provides a reliable, unambiguous, reproducible, and efficient method for determining total ITCs of various samples.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-163
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytica Chimica Acta
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jul 2004

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Spectroscopy

User-Defined Keywords

  • Chinese medicinal herbs
  • Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • Isothiocyanates


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