Separation and identification of carotenoids and their oxidation products in the extracts of human plasma

Anal Chem. 1992 Sep 15;64(18):2111-22. doi: 10.1021/ac00042a016.


Eighteen carotenoids as well as vitamin A and two forms of vitamin E (gamma- and alpha-tocopherol) have been separated from extracts of human plasma by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) on reversed-phase and sillca-based nitrile-bonded columns. In the order of chromatographic elution on a C18 reversed-phase column, the carotenoids were identified as (3R,3'R,6'R)-beta, epsilon-carotene-3,3'-diol [(3R,3'R,6'R)-lutein], (3R,3'R)-beta, beta-carotene-3,3'-diol [(3R,3'R)-zeaxanthin], 5,6-dihydroxy-5,6-dihydro-psi,psi-carotene, 3-hydroxy-2',3'-didehydro-beta,epsilon-caroten-3-ol, 3-hydroxy-beta-carotene,psi,psi-carotene, 7,8-dihydro-psi,psi-carotene, beta,psi-carotene, 7,8,7',8'-tetrahydro-psi,psi-carotene, beta,epsilon-carotene, beta,beta-carotene, 7,8,11,12,7',8'-hexahydro-psi,psi-carotene, and 7,8,11,12,7',8'-11',12'-octahydro-psi,psi-carotene. The polar carotenoids, which eluted in the vicinity of lutein and were unresolved on the C18 column, have been separated on a nitrile-bonded column employing isocratic HPLC conditions. In the order of elution, the carotenoids were epsilon,epsilon-carotene-3,3'-dione, 3'-hydroxy-epsilon,epsilon-caroten-3-one, 5,6-dihydroxy-5,6-dihydro-psi,psi-carotene, 3-hydroxy-beta,epsilon-caroten-3'-one, (all-E,3R,3'R,6'R)-lutein, (all-E,3R,3'R)-zeaxanthin, and (all-E,3R,3'S,6'R)-beta,epsilon-carotene-3,3'-diol (3'-epilutein) followed by several geometrical isomers of lutein and zeaxanthin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Carotenoids / blood*
  • Carotenoids / isolation & purification
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Plasma / chemistry*
  • Vitamin A / blood
  • Vitamin E / blood


  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E
  • Carotenoids