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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Stress degradation studies and stability-indicating TLC-densitometric method of glycyrrhetic acid

Syed Ghulam Musharraf*, Nayab Kanwal and Qamar ul Arfeen

Author Affiliations

H.E.J. Research Institute of Chemistry, International Center for Chemical and Biological Sciences, University of Karachi, Karachi 75270, Pakistan

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Chemistry Central Journal 2013, 7:9  doi:10.1186/1752-153X-7-9

Published: 17 January 2013



Glycyrrhetic acid, a pentacyclic triterpenoid, possesses a broad range of pharmacological activities and serves as template to synthesize many bioactive drugs. This paper describes a simple, accurate, and sensitive stability-indicating TLC densitometric method for the determination of glycyrrhetic acid and its degradation product as per the ICH guidelines.


Separation was carried out on TLC aluminium sheet pre-coated with silica gel 60F254 using chloroform, methanol and formic acid (9:0.9:0.1, v/v). Compact spot for glycyrrhetic acid was found at Rf value of 0.42 ± 0.03. Densitometric analysis was carried out in the absorbance mode at λmax 254 nm. Glycyrrhetic acid was found to be stable to the exposure of base, neutral, oxidation, dry heating treatment and wet heating treatment, but showed degradation under acidic and photochemical conditions. Moreover, fragmentation pattern of glycyrrhetic acid was developed by using a positive ion electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (ESI-QqTOF-MS/MS) hybrid instrument. A photo-degraded product was characterized through comparison of mass spectrometric studies with glycyrrhetic acid.


The developed stability-indicating TLC-densitometric method can be applied for routine analysis of glycyrrhetic acid in the presence of its degradation products.

Glycyrrhetic acid; Stress degradation; Electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry

Graphical abstract