Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from Chemistry Central Journal and Chemistry Central.

Open Access Open Badges Research article

Quantitative analysis of the major constituents in Chinese medicinal preparation SuoQuan formulae by ultra fast high performance liquid chromatography/quadrupole tandem mass spectrometry

Feng Chen*, Hai-long Li, Yong-Hui Li, Yin-Feng Tan and Jun-Qing Zhang*

Author Affiliations

School of Pharmacy, Hainan Medical University, Hainan Provincial Key Laboratory of R&D of Tropical Herbs, Haikou 571101, China

For all author emails, please log on.

Chemistry Central Journal 2013, 7:131  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-131

Published: 30 July 2013



The SuoQuan formulae containing Fructus Alpiniae Oxyphyllae has been used to combat the urinary incontinence symptoms including frequency, urgency and nocturia for hundreds of years in China. However, the chemical information was not well characterized. The quality control marker constituent only focused on one single compound in the current Chinese Pharmacopeia. Hence it is prudent to identify and quantify the main constituents in this herbal product. This study aimed to analyze the main constituents using ultra-fast performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (UFLC-MS/MS).


Fourteen phytochemicals originated from five chemical classes constituents were identified by comparing the molecular mass, fragmentation pattern and retention time with those of the reference standards. A newly developed UFLC-MS/MS was validated demonstrating that the new assay was valid, reproducible and reliable. This method was successfully applied to simultaneously quantify the fourteen phytochemicals. Notably, the content of these constituents showed significant differences in three pharmaceutical preparations. The major constituent originated from each of chemical class was isolinderalactone, norisoboldine, nootkatone, yakuchinone A and apigenin-4’,7-dimethylther, respectively. The variation among these compounds was more than 1000 times. Furthermore, the significant content variation between the two different Suoquan pills was also observed.


The proposed method is sensitive and reliable; hence it can be used to analyze a variety of SuoQuan formulae products produced by different pharmaceutical manufacturers.

Fructus Alpiniae Oxyphyllae; Radix Linderae; SuoQuan formulae; UFLC-MS/MS; Alkaloids; Diarylheptanoids; Flavonoids; Lactones; Naphthalenone

Graphical abstract