HPLC method for the quantification of procyanidins in cocoa and chocolate samples and correlation to total antioxidant capacity.
Monomeric and oligomeric procyanidins present in cocoa liquors and chocolates were separated and quantified in four different laboratories using a normal-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method with fluorescence detection. Procyanidin standards through decamers were obtained by extraction from cocoa beans, enrichment by Sephadex LH-20 gel permeation chromatography, and final purification by preparative normal-phase HPLC. The purity of each oligomeric fraction was assessed using HPLC coupled to mass spectrometry. A composite standard was then prepared, and calibration curves were generated for each oligomeric class using a quadratic fit of area sum versus concentration. Results obtained by each of the laboratories were in close agreement, which suggests this method is reliable and reproducible for quantification of procyanidins. Furthermore, the procyanidin content of the samples was correlated to the antioxidant capacity measured using the ORAC assay as an indicator for potential biological activity.