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Plant hormone determination in food matrices has attracted more and more attention because of their potential risks to human health. However, analytical methods for the analysis of multiple plant hormones remain poorly investigated. In the present study, a convenient, selective, and ultrasensitive high-performance liquid chromatography method for the simultaneous determination of multiple classes of plant hormones has been developed successfully using dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction followed by precolumn fluorescent labeling. Eight plant hormones in fruits including jasmonic acid, 12-oxo-phytodienoic acid, indole-3-acetic acid, 3-indolybutyric acid, 3-indolepropionic acid, gibberellin A₃, 1-naphthylacetic acid, and 2-naphthaleneacetic acid were analyzed by this method. The conditions employed for dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction were optimized systematically. The linearity for all plant hormones was found to be >0.9993 (<i>R</i>² values). This method offered low detection limits of 0.19-0.44 ng/mL (at a signal-to-noise ratio of 3), and method accuracies were in the range of 92.32-103.10%. The proposed method was applied to determine plant hormones in five kinds of food samples, and this method can achieve a short analysis time, low threshold levels of detection, and a high specificity for the analysis of targeted plant hormones present at trace level concentrations in complex matrices.

BACKGROUND: Currently, commercially prepared complementary foods have become an important part of the diet of many infants and toddlers. But the method for simultaneous analysis of different types of micronutrient remains poorly investigated, which hinders the rapid and comprehensive quality control of infant foods. In the presented study, we first tried to employ the fluorescence labeling strategy combined with high-performance liquid chromatography-fluorescence detection for simultaneous determination of some acidic micronutrients including biotin, nicotinic acid, linolenic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, arachidonic acid and linoleic acid in infant foods.<br>RESULTS: 2-(5-Benzoacridine) ethyl-p-toluenesulfonate was used as the fluorescence labeling reagent for simultaneous labeling of the seven components. The labeling conditions were optimized systematically by response surface methodology. The correlation coefficients for the calibration curves of the tested compounds ranged from 0.9991 to 0.9998. Limits of detection were in the range of 1.99-3.05 nmol L<sup>−1</sup>. Relative standard deviation values of retention time and peak area of seven compounds were less than 0.05% and 0.75%, respectively. The intra- and inter-day precision was in the range of 1.81-3.80% and 3.21-4.30%, respectively. When applied to analysis of several infant foods it showed good applicability.<br>CONCLUSION: The developed method has been proven to be simple, inexpensive, selective, sensitive, accurate and reliable for analysis of some acidic micronutrients in infant foodstuffs. Furthermore, this developed method also has powerful potential in the analysis of many other complementary foodstuffs. © 2015 Society of Chemical Industry

A sensitive and inexpensive method involving ultrasound-assisted dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction (UA-DLLME) and pre-column derivatization followed by high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection (HPLC-FLD) was developed for the analysis of glycyrrhetinic acid. In this work, glycyrrhetinic acid could be obtained by hydrolyzing glycyrrhizic acid to remove glucuronic acid and subsequently extracted by UA-DLLME using chloroform and acetone as the extraction and disperser solvents, respectively. The sample extraction was firstly concentrated to dry under nitrogen and then rapidly derivatized with 2-(12-oxobenzo[b]acridin-5(12H)-yl)-ethyl-4-toluenesulfonate (BAETS) after the UA-DLLME. The prime parameters influencing the UA-DLLME and derivatization procedure were optimized using response surface methodology. Under the optimum conditions, the proposed method has a better linearity in a wider range of 6-300 ng mL<sup>−1</sup> and a high square of correlation coefficient (<i>R</i> <sup>2</sup>) at 0.9994. Limit of detection and limit of quantification were found to be 1.7 ng mL<sup>−1</sup> and 5.8 ng mL<sup>−1</sup>, respectively. The proposed method was applied to the analysis of glycyrrhetinic acid in liquorice, liquorice apricot and sugar plum samples. For the analysis of the spiked samples, the spiked recoveries were in the range of 90.4-103.0 % with RSD less than 5.18 %. All results demonstrated that the UA-DLLME-HPLC-FLD (ultrasound-assisted dispersive liquid-liquid microextraction-high-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection) was a sensitive, accurate, efficient analytical method for the determination of glycyrrhetinic acid.