Identification of procyanidins in cocoa (Theobroma cacao) and chocolate using high-performance liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry.
Monomeric and oligomeric procyanidins present in cocoa and chocolate were separated and identified using a modified normal-phase high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) method coupled with on-line mass spectrometry (MS) analysis using an atmospheric pressure ionization electrospray chamber. The chromatographic separation was achieved using a silica stationary phase in combination with a gradient ascending in polarity. This qualitative report confirms the presence of a complex series of procyanidins in raw cocoa and certain chocolates using HPLC/MS techniques. Although both cocoa and chocolate contained monomeric and oligomeric procyanidin units 2-10, only use of negative mode provided MS data for the higher oligomers (i.e., >pentamer). Application of this method for qualitative analysis of proanthocyanidins in other food products and confirmation of this method as a reliable quantitative tool for determining levels of procyanidins in cocoa, chocolate, and other food products are currently being investigated.