Anthocyanins are compounds related to the color of plants. They also have beneficial effects on human health and are used as a supplement. Various species of anthocyanins, divided by their molecular shape, are present in plants. Therefore, simple and rapid analytical techniques that can distinguish among these species in crops are necessary for breeding and quality assessment. A team of Nagoya University researchers in Japan has used a technique called probe electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (PESI/MS/MS) to analyze anthocyanins in crops. Their results were published in the journal Horticulture Research.
Conventionally, liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry are used to analyze anthocyanins. However, the conventional procedure requires considerable time and work in the pretreatment and chromatography step. Therefore, the team led by Associate Professor Katsuhiro Shiratake turned to the PESI/MS/MS technique that had previously been developed by another member of the team, Professor Kei Zaitsu. Prof. Zaitsu had originally developed the technique to analyze metabolites in living organs, such as the brains of mice. However, for the first time, the team used it for agricultural applications.
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