Development of a validated UPLC-MS/MS method for analyzing major ginseng saponins from various ginseng species

Ling Yang, Chi Lin Li, Yung Yi Cheng, Tung Hu Tsai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Ginsenosides, which contain one triterpene and one or more sugar moieties, are the major bioactive compounds of ginseng. The aim of this study was to develop and optimize a specific and reliable ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (UPLC-MS/MS) method for the analysis of twelve different resources of ginseng. The six marker compounds of ginsenoside Rb1, ginsenoside Rb2, ginsenoside Rc, ginsenoside Rd, ginsenoside Re, and ginsenoside Rg1, as well as an internal standard, were separated by a reversed-phase C-18 column with a gradient elution of water and methanol-acetonitrile. The multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) mode was used to quantify and identify twelve market products. The results demonstrated that not only is the logarithm of its partition coefficient (cLog P; octanol-water partition coefficient) one of the factors, but also the number of sugars, position of sugars, and position of the hydroxyl groups are involved in the complicated separation factors for the analytes in the analytical system. If the amount of ginsenoside Rb1 was higher than 40 mg/g, then the species might be Panax quinquefolius, based on the results of the marker ginsenoside contents of various varieties. In summary, this study provides a rapid and precise analytical method for identifying the various ginsenosides from different species, geographic environments, and cultivation cultures.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4065
Issue number22
StatePublished - 9 Nov 2019


  • Ginseng species
  • Ginsenosides
  • Traditional Chinese medicine
  • Ultra-performance liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry


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