Phytochemical analysis of an antiviral fraction of Radix astragali using HPLC–DAD–ESI–MS/MS
An improved quality control method was developed to simultaneously determine 15 major constituents (eight flavonoids and seven saponins) in various radix Astragali preparations, using SPE for pretreatment of samples, HPLC with diode-array and evaporative light scattering detectors (DAD-ELSD) for quantification in one run, and HPLC-ESI-TOF/MS for definite identification of compounds in preparations. Optimum separations were obtained with a ZORBAX C(18) column, using a gradient elution with 0.3% aqueous formic acid and ACN. This established method was fully validated with respect to linearity, precision, repeatability, and accuracy, and was successfully applied to quantify the 15 compounds in 19 commercial samples, including 3 dosage forms, i. e., oral solution, injection, concentrated granule, and its processed products of radix Astragali. The results demonstrated that many factors might result in significant differences in quality of the final preparations, including crude drugs, pretreatment processes, manufacturing procedure, storage conditions, etc. Then the developed method provided a reasonable and powerful manner to ensure the efficacy, safety, and batch-to-batch uniformity of radix Astragali products by standardizing each procedure, and thus should be proposed as quality control for the clinical use and modernization of herbal preparations.