Characterization of steroidal saponins in saponin extract from Paris polyphylla by liquid chromatography tandem multi-stage mass spectrometry.
ABSTRACT Rhizoma Paridis saponins are bioactive steroidal saponins derived from Paris polyphylla. Optimization of the ionization process was performed with electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometry in both positive and negative-ion modes. Negative-ion ESI was adopted for generation of the precursor deprotonated molecules to achieve the best ionization sensitivity for the analytes. Positive ionization was used to choose the most abundant fragment ion. Furthermore, according to the characteristic fragmentation behavior of known steroidal saponins isolated from this plant (polyphyllin D, formosanin C, gracillin, Paris H, Paris VII, and dioscin), 23 constituents were structurally characterized on the basis of their retention time and ESI analyses, including four pairs of naturally occurring isomers. Five of these 23 constituents were new compounds. The analytical method of LC-MS(n) in positive and negative-ion modes has been developed for the direct structural elucidation of steroid saponins of this kind in plant extracts.