Introduction: Quercetin is a polyphenolic flavonoid which has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a natural therapeutic agent with a broad spectrum of activities (antioxidant, anticancer, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial). The aim of this study was to develop and validate a rapid and simple ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography with tandem mass spectrometry (UHPLC-MS/MS) method for the determination of quercetin in milk.
Material and methods: Sample preparation was based on a liquid-liquid extraction with 0.5% formic acid in acetonitrile. The chromatographic separation was performed on a ZORBAX SB-C18 column with methanol and 0.5% formic acid as a mobile phase.
Results: The procedure was successfully validated. The mean recovery of the analyte was 98%, with the corresponding intra- and inter-day variation less than 10% and 15%, respectively, and the repeatability and reproducibility were in the range of 3%-7.2% and 6.1%-12%, respectively. The lowest level of quantification was 1.0 μg/kg.
Conclusion: The proposed method was successfully applied in evaluating the pharmacokinetics of quercetin in milk obtained from dairy cows with clinical mastitis after intramammary administration.
Keywords: UHPLC-MS/MS; milk; pharmacokinetics; quercetin.