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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Analysis of underivatized artemisinin and related sesquiterpene lactones by high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection

Authors
item FERREIRA, JORGE
item GONZALEZ, JAVIER

Submitted to: Phytochemical Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: August 28, 2008
Publication Date: February 15, 2009
Citation: Ferreira, J.F., Gonzalez, J.M. 2009. Analysis of underivatized artemisinin and related sesquiterpene lactones by high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection. Phytochemical Analysis. 20:91-97.

Interpretive Summary: Although high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection (HPLC-UV) is widely available, artemisinin has not yet been analyzed by HPLC-UV without derivatization, due to its reported lack of UV absorbance. The growing interest in the production of artemisinin to meet the demands for artemisinin, calls for a method that is simple, reliable, and that can analyze artemisinin and its precursors (dihydroartemisinic acid and artemisinic acid) simultaneously. HPLC-UV is as sensitive as HPLC with evaporative light scattering detection (HPLC-ELSD) for the analysis of artemisinin from plant samples and is over 100-fold more sensitive for the analysis of artemisinin precursors than HPLC-ELSD. Plants containing as low as 0.048% artemisinin, 0.024% dihydroartemisinic acid, and 0.016% artemisinic acid were analyzed by HPLC-UV at 192 nm, without derivatization, with recoveries of over 98% for all three compounds. HPLC with UV detection had a positive and significant relationship (R2=0.99***) when compared with HPLC-ELSD for artemisinin analysis, and is reliable to analyze artemisinin precursors and the artemisinin-based drugs dihydroartemisinin, artesunate, and artelinic acid.

Technical Abstract: Although high-performance liquid chromatography with ultraviolet detection (HPLC-UV) is widely available, artemisinin has not yet been analyzed by HPLC-UV without derivatization, due to its reported lack of UV absorbance. The growing interest in the production of artemisinin, calls for a method that is simple, reliable, and that can analyze artemisinin and its precursors (dihydroartemisinic acid and artemisinic acid) simultaneously. HPLC-UV is as sensitive as HPLC with evaporative light scattering detection (HPLC-ELSD) for the analysis of artemisinin from plant samples and is over 100-fold more sensitive for the analysis of artemisinin precursors than HPLC-ELSD. Plants containing as low as 0.048% artemisinin, 0.024% dihydroartemisinic acid, and 0.016% artemisinic acid were analyzed by HPLC-UV at 192 nm, without derivatization. Recoveries of these three compounds, from spiked samples, were over 98%. HPLC-UV was highly correlated (R2=0.99***) with HPLC-ELSD for artemisinin analysis from plant samples. The method was also reliable to analyze the artemisinin-based drugs dihydroartemisinin, artesunate, and artelinic acid.

Last Modified: 8/19/2014