Introduction – Artemisinin, the primary active ingredient of the Chinese herb Artemisia annua L., is known to have considerable anti-malaria properties. However, rapid, sensitive and selective method for the determination of artemisinin in it is not currently available.
Objective – To develop and validate an efficient method for extraction and analysis of artemisinin from the plant samples of Artemisia annua L. by rapid resolution liquid chromatography triple quadrupole mass spectrometry (RRLC-QQQ).
Methodology – Following ultrasound-assisted extraction (USE), RRLC-QQQ was utilised to separate and determine artemisinin from the plant sample of Artemisia annua L. The LC separation, QQQ-MS detection and multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode were optimised, and the method validation concluding selectivity, calibration, accuracy and precision, and recovery were also evaluated.
Results – LC separation was performed with an isocratic elution of 20% of methanol–water (10 mmol/L ammonium acetate, pH 4.0) on a C18 column. The triple quadrupole MS detection was carried out under MRM mode of precursor ion [M + H]+ → fragment ions m/z 265.1 and m/z 247.2. The limits of detection and quantitation of artemisinin were 0.20 and 0.75 ng/mL, respectively. The intra- and inter-day precisions did not exceed 3.71%, and the deviation of the intra- and inter-day mean values did not exceed ±7.50. The average recoveries for artemisinin ranged from 92.45 to 103.8% with an RSD from 2.47 to 2.79%.
Conclusion – The developed RRLC-QQQ assay is an efficient method for separation and determination of artemisinin from the plant samples of Artemisia annua L. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.