Natural betacyanins have attracted great attention as food colorants and potential antioxidants. Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization quadrupole ion trap time-of-flight mass spectrometry (MALDI-QIT-TOF MS) is a new and powerful technique for the identification of low molecular weight compounds. This study is the first to employ MALDI-QIT-TOF MS to rapidly identify, within a few minutes, a great number of betacyanins in crude extracts from Amaranthus tricolor seedlings, Gomphrena globosa flowers, and Hylocereus polyrhizus fruits. The fresh crude extract samples without any purification were directly used for MALDI-QIT-TOF MS analysis with 2,5-dihydroxybenzoic acid as a matrix. The MS 2 and MS 3 spectrometric data acquired could provide important characteristic information for structural elucidation of the betacyanins. Fourteen free and acylated betacyanins, belonging to amaranthin-type, betanin-type, and gomphrenin-type betacyanins, respectively, were identified. However, the related isomers should be differentiated with the aid of HPLC.
- Amaranthus tricolor, gomphrena globosa
- Food colorants
- Hylocereus polyrhizus
- Low molecular weight compounds
- MALDI-QIT-TOF MS