A liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS-MS) method was developed to distinguish Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer) and North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.). The method is based on the baseline chromatographic separation of ginsenoside Rf and 24(R)-pseudoginsenoside F11, two potential chemical markers present in ginseng root methanolic extracts, and their unambiguous on-line identification using tandem mass spectrometry. Consistent with the literature, 24(R)-pseudoginsenoside F11 was detected in abundance in North American ginseng roots in excess of 0.1% (w/w) of the dried root. In contrast to some reports, 24(R)-pseudoginsenoside F11 was also identified in Asian ginseng roots at trace levels using LC-MS-MS but at less than 0.0001% (w/w). Besides showing identical tandem mass spectra to authentic 24(R)-pseudoginsenoside F11, the corresponding compound in Asian ginseng root coeluted with standard under different HPLC conditions, thus confirming this compound as 24(R)-pseudoginsenoside F11. Another ginsenoside often used to distinguish Asian and North American ginseng, ginsenoside Rf, was found in abundance in Asian ginseng roots at more than 0.021% (w/w). In Asian ginseng roots, the ratio of ginsenoside Rf to 24(R)-pseudoginsenoside F11 exceeded 700:1. The limit of detection of ginsenoside Rf or 24(R)-pseudoginsenoside F11 was 120 pg injected on-column, and the limit of quantification was 240 pg on-column. In summary, LC-MS-MS analysis of ginseng products for the presence and ratio of ginsenoside Rf and 24(R)-pseudoginsenoside F11 may be used for the unambiguous identification of Asian and North American ginsengs.
Scopus Subject Areas
- Analytical Chemistry