Rapid liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry assay to quantify plasma (-)-epicatechin metabolites after ingestion of a standard portion of cocoa beverage in humans

J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Aug 10;53(16):6190-4. doi: 10.1021/jf050377u.


A rapid liquid chromatography electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry with negative ion detection method was developed and validated to determine cocoa flavonoid metabolites in human plasma and urine after the intake of a standard portion of a cocoa beverage. A chromatographic run time of only 9 min provided clear separation of all metabolites and internal standards. Samples were analyzed in a product-ion scan of m/z 289, 369, and 465 to identify the metabolites and in multiple reaction monitoring acquisition mode to quantify (-)-epicatechin ((-)-Ec) (289/ 245), (-)-epicatechin-glucuronide ((-)-EcG) (465/289), and (-)-epicatechin-sulfate ((-)-EcS) (369/289). One (-)-Ec-G and three (-)-Ec-S were identified and confirmed in urine as the major metabolites, and one (-)-Ec-G was the only metabolite present in plasma volunteers (n = 5) at a mean concentration of 625.7 +/- 198.3 nmol/L at 2 h after consumption of a cocoa beverage containing 54.4 mg of (-)-Ec.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Beverages*
  • Cacao* / chemistry
  • Catechin / blood*
  • Catechin / urine
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Female
  • Flavonoids / administration & dosage
  • Flavonoids / analysis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Middle Aged
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization*


  • Flavonoids
  • Catechin