Fast Profiling of Natural Pigments in Different Spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) Dietary Supplements by DI-FT-ICR and Evaluation of their Antioxidant Potential by Pre-Column DPPH-UHPLC Assay

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Eduardo Sommella ; Giulio Maria Conte ; Emanuela Salviati ; Giacomo Pepe ; Alessia Bertamino ; Carmine Ostacolo ; Francesca Sansone ; Francesco Del Prete ; Rita Patrizia Aquino ; Pietro Campiglia (2018)
  • Publisher: MDPI AG
  • Journal: Molecules (issn: 1420-3049)
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.3390/molecules23051152
  • Subject: carotenoids | DIMS | DPPH | FT-ICR | Spirulina | UHPLC | Organic chemistry | QD241-441

Arthrospira platensis, better known as Spirulina, is one of the most important microalgae species. This cyanobacterium possesses a rich metabolite pattern, including high amounts of natural pigments. In this study, we applied a combined strategy based on Fourier Transform Ion Cyclotron Resonance Mass Spectrometry (FT-ICR-MS) and Ultra High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (UHPLC) for the qualitative/quantitative characterization of Spirulina pigments in three different commercial dietary supplements. FT-ICR was employed to elucidate the qualitative profile of Spirulina pigments, in both direct infusion mode (DIMS) and coupled to UHPLC. DIMS showed to be a very fast (4 min) and accurate (mass accuracy ≤ 0.01 ppm) tool. 51 pigments were tentatively identified. The profile revealed different classes, such as carotenes, xanthophylls and chlorophylls. Moreover, the antioxidant evaluation of the major compounds was assessed by pre-column reaction with the DPPH radical followed by fast UHPLC-PDA separation, highlighting the contribution of single analytes to the antioxidant potential of the entire pigment fraction. β-carotene, diadinoxanthin and diatoxanthin showed the highest scavenging activity. The method took 40 min per sample, comprising reaction. This strategy could represent a valid tool for the fast and comprehensive characterization of Spirulina pigments in dietary supplements, as well as in other microalgae-based products.
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