Quebracho (Schinopsis lorentzii and Schinopsis balansae) extract is an important source of natural polymers for leather tanning and adhesive manufacturing. We combined established phyto- and synthetic chemistry perspectives with electrospray mass spectrometry experiments to prove that quebracho proanthocyanidin polymers consist of an homologous series of flavan-3-ol based oligomers. The starter unit is always catechin which is angularly bonded to fisetinidol extender units. By comparison of the MS(2) fragmentation spectra of the oligomer with product ion scans of authentic catechin and robinetinidol samples, we proved that quebracho extract contains no robinetinidol, as is often reported. Quebracho proanthocyanidins have acid resistant interflavanyl bonds, due to the absence of 5-OH groups in fisetinidol, and the aDP cannot be determined via conventional thiolysis and phloroglucinolysis. We used the MS data to estimate a conservative (minimum value) aDP of 3.1.
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