Speciation of Mg, Mn and Zn in extracts of medicinal plants

Weber, Günther; Konieczyński, Pawe&lslash;
April 2003
Analytical & Bioanalytical Chemistry;Apr2003, Vol. 375 Issue 8, p1067
Academic Journal
Aqueous extracts of birch leaves ( folium Betulae), peppermint leaves ( folium Menthae), sage leaves ( folium Salviae), valerian roots ( radix Valerianae), and dandelion roots ( radix Taraxaci) are analysed for the three essential elements magnesium, manganese and zinc. Ultrafiltration reveals that 60–100% of these metals are present as low molecular weight species (<5000 Da). Further characterisation of the low molecular weight fraction is done by using size exclusion chromatography and different detectors, namely element specific AAS detection, diode array UV–VIS detection and electrochemical detection. The similarities and differences of the plant extracts are well reflected by the respective chromatograms, and typical plant constituents can be identified by their spectral and electrochemical properties (e.g. flavonoids in Betula). Mg and Mn species are selectively detected by AAS in closely neighbouring chromatographic regions for all five samples. However, there are significant differences between the samples investigated. In all cases a good correlation exists between detection of these metals (Mg, Mn) and pulsed amperometric detection (PAD), which is selective for carbohydrates. The respective molecular weight of carbohydrate species is in the range of approximately 300–600 Da. The distribution of zinc species (detectable only in the Betula extract) is totally different from that of Mg and Mn species. For zinc, many more species are detected, and there is no correlation to carbohydrates; instead (poly)phenols are involved in zinc complexation.


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