Qualitative identification of dibenzoylmethane in licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) using gas chromatography-triple quadrupole mass spectrometry

Nat Prod Commun. 2014 Jan;9(1):91-4.


Licorice root (Glycyrrhiza glabra), an herbal Chinese medicine, has shown medicinal uses in therapeutics and cancer prevention. Dibenzoylmethane (DBM; 1, 3-diphenyl-1, 3-propadinedione), a small beta-diketone, has been reported to be a minor constituent of licorice and a known deregulator of the human prostate cancer cell cycle. Characterization of the phytochemical profiles of licorice root forms including commercially available DBM will advance our search in identifying novel reagents for prostate cancer therapeutics. Gas chromatography- triple quadrupole-mass spectrometric analysis was used for detecting DBM in licorice root extracts. DBM and all licorice forms exhibited a component with a retention time of 14.5 minutes. The major fragment ions detected were at m/z 77, 105, 147, 223 and 224 at the identified retention time by selected reaction monitoring/SRM. These data confirm the presence of DBM from its natural source (G. glabra), and the GC-MS/SRM method helps in the identification of this minor component in a complex biological matrix.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chalcones / analysis*
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry
  • Glycyrrhiza / chemistry*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry


  • Chalcones
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • dibenzoylmethane