Capillary electrophoresis separation of artepillin C: determination in Brazilian green propolis

Propolis is important in complementary and alternative medicine having well-known therapeutic applications. Artepillin C, a main component of Brazilian (green) propolis, has attracted great attention for its anticancer action. Consequently, the synthesis of artepillin C has been reported but, due to the limited yield and elevated costs, this biomolecule is largely produced from Brazilian propolis. We report the capillary electrophoresis (CE) separation of artepillin C in Brazilian propolis also comparing the results with those of HPLC-UV-MS. Optimal separation was obtained with a simple buffer constituted of sodium tetraborate 30 mM pH 9.2 and detection at 210 nm. Artepillin C and the polyphenols of propolis were fully separated with a voltage gradient of 30 to 8 kV and a current of 300 μA for a total run of 50 min. The sensitivity of CE-UV was 22 times greater than HPLC-UV and 100 times more than HPLC-MS with also a stronger reduction in the run time and a greater robustness and reproducibility. The development of CE as an effective and reliable method for the analysis of artepillin C is desired as the standardized quality controls are essential before propolis or its biomolecules can be adopted routinely in nutraceuticals, food ingredients and therapeutic applications.
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