Detection and Identification of Synthetic Phosphodiesterase Type-5 Inhibitors in Adulterated Herbal Supplements using UPLC and Data-Directed Analysis by Mass Spectrometry

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Marian Twohig, Andrew Aubin, Michael Jones, and Robert S. Plumb
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Xevo TQ MS

Adulteration of herbal dietary supplements with synthetic pharmaceuticals is a growing problem. There have been reports in published literature that show many of the supposed natural alternatives to approved synthetic phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE5) inhibitors used to treat erectile dysfunction (ED) are actually adulterated with them. Many reports also indicate that this adulteration of herbal additives is a growing trend. Due to the threat to public health posed by unknowingly ingesting both the known PDE5 inhibitors and their analogues, it is vital that analysts have tools that allow them to characterize these complex samples adequately. In this work, we evaluate the use of the Waters Xevo TQ MS tandem quadrupole mass spectrometer for the detection and identification of PDE5 adulterants in herbal supplements.  The Xevo TQ MS reduces analysis time by simultaneously acquiring MS and MS/MS data in a single run.

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