Rapid screening for synthetic antidiabetic drug adulteration in herbal dietary supplements using direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry

Authors: Zhigui Zhou, Jialing Zhang, Wei Zhang, Yu Bai, Huwei Liu
Analyst 2011, May, 03, Issue 12, 136, 2613-2618


Adulteration of herbal supplements with synthetic drugs is illegal. A rapid and reliable method which utilizes direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry (DART®-MS) was developed for the identification of seven synthetic antidiabetic drugs used as adulterants in herbal dietary supplements. The supplement sample was simply extracted with methanol/water by manually shaking several times and directly analyzed using DART®-MS. The presence of synthetic drug adulterants was confirmed through the accurate m/z values and MS/MS data obtained via quadruple time of flight mass spectrometry (QTOF MS). Parameters for the DART® source were systematically optimized, and the limits of detection (LODs) in herbal supplement matrices were measured. This method was successfully applied to examine five commercial herbal dietary supplements, and two of them proved to be adulterated with metformin without labeling.