Analysis of Aloe-based phytotherapeutic products by using nano-LC-MS

J Sep Sci. 2010 Sep;33(17-18):2663-70. doi: 10.1002/jssc.201000408.


This article proposes a chromatographic method for the analysis of extracts of Aloe plants. The method was developed with a laboratory assembled nano-LC system coupled with a UV detector, followed by an IT-mass spectrometer. With a step gradient mode of ACN/H(2)O mixtures and employing a capillary column packed with C(18) (100 μm id), a complete separation of the following anthrones was achieved: aloin (in its two isomeric forms A and B), 5-hydroxyaloin and 7-hydroxyaloin (in its two isomeric forms A and B). The optimized nano-LC-MS method was validated for the quantification of aloin, the main component of Aloe with known pharmacological activities. RSD values obtained for retention time and peak areas were 1.3 and 12.1%, respectively. LOD and LOQ values of 0.4 and 1.5 μg/mL were obtained for each aloin isomer. The method was applied to the analysis of Aloe vera and A. ferox extracts in order to acquire a fingerprint, characteristic for each plant. Several phenolic compounds were detected by UV and identified by MS. A. vera and A. ferox showed different profiles and it was possible to discriminate them. Several commercial formulations, declared to contain Aloe extracts, were analyzed. Comparing their chromatograms with those obtained from A. vera and A. ferox, it was possible to recognize the Aloe species and to determine aloin.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Aloe / chemistry*
  • Chromatography, Liquid / instrumentation
  • Chromatography, Liquid / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry / instrumentation
  • Mass Spectrometry / methods*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Preparations / analysis*
  • Quality Control
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Plant Extracts
  • Plant Preparations