Simultaneous quantification of ten key Kratom alkaloids in Mitragyna speciosa leaf extracts and commercial products by ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry

Drug Test Anal. 2019 Aug;11(8):1162-1171. doi: 10.1002/dta.2604. Epub 2019 May 15.


Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a psychoactive plant popular in the United States for the self-treatment of pain and opioid addiction. For standardization and quality control of raw and commercial kratom products, an ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method was developed and validated for the quantification of ten key alkaloids, namely: corynantheidine, corynoxine, corynoxine B, 7-hydroxymitragynine, isocorynantheidine, mitragynine, mitraphylline, paynantheine, speciociliatine, and speciogynine. Chromatographic separation of diastereomers, or alkaloids sharing same ion transitions, was achieved on an Acquity BEH C18 column with a gradient elution using a mobile phase containing acetonitrile and aqueous ammonium acetate buffer (10mM, pH 3.5). The developed method was linear over a concentration range of 1-200 ng/mL for each alkaloid. The total analysis time per sample was 22.5 minutes. The analytical method was validated for accuracy, precision, robustness, and stability. After successful validation, the method was applied for the quantification of kratom alkaloids in alkaloid-rich fractions, ethanolic extracts, lyophilized teas, and commercial products. Mitragynine (0.7%-38.7% w/w), paynantheine (0.3%-12.8% w/w), speciociliatine (0.4%-12.3% w/w), and speciogynine (0.1%-5.3% w/w) were the major alkaloids in the analyzed kratom products/extracts. Minor kratom alkaloids (corynantheidine, corynoxine, corynoxine B, 7-hydroxymitragynine, isocorynantheidine) were also quantified (0.01%-2.8% w/w) in the analyzed products; however mitraphylline was below the lower limit of quantification in all analyses.

Keywords: 7-hydroxymitragynine; Mitragyna speciosa; Mitragynine; alkaloid; kratom.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids / analysis*
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods
  • Limit of Detection
  • Mitragyna / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry*
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods


  • Alkaloids
  • Plant Extracts