Rapid quantitation of ascorbic and folic acids in SRM 3280 multivitamin/multielement tablets using flow-injection tandem mass spectrometry


G. J. Van Berkel, Organic and Biological Mass Spectrometry Group, Chemical Sciences Division, Oak Ridge National Laboratory ,Oak Ridge, TN 37831-6131, USA.




Ascorbic acid (AA) and folic acid (FA) are water-soluble vitamins and are usually fortified in food and dietary supplements. For the safety of human health, proper intake of these vitamins is recommended. Improvement in the analysis time required for the quantitative determination of these vitamins in food and nutritional formulations is desired.


A simple and fast (~5 min) in-tube sample preparation was performed, independently for FA and AA, by mixing extraction solvent with a powdered sample aliquot followed by agitation, centrifugation, and filtration to recover an extract for analysis. Quantitative detection was achieved by flow-injection (1 μL injection volume) electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry (ESI-MS/MS) in negative ion mode using the method of standard addition.


The method of standard addition was employed for the quantitative estimation of each vitamin in a sample extract. At least 2 spiked and 1 non-spiked sample extract were injected in triplicate for each quantitative analysis. Given an injection-to-injection interval of approximately 2 min, about 18 min was required to complete the quantitative estimation of each vitamin. The concentration values obtained for the respective vitamins in the standard reference material (SRM) 3280 using this approach were within the statistical range of the certified values provided in the NIST Certificate of Analysis. The estimated limit of detections of FA and AA were 13 and 5.9 ng/g, respectively.


Flow-injection ESI-MS/MS was successfully applied for the rapid quantitation of FA and AA in SRM 3280 multivitamin/multielement tablets. Published 2012. This article is a US Government work and is in the public domain in the USA.