Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

, Volume 410, Issue 13, pp 3185–3196 | Cite as

Comprehensive 2D gas chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry with 2D retention indices for analysis of volatile compounds in frankincense (Boswellia papyrifera)

  • Ming Jiang
  • Chadin Kulsing
  • Philip J. Marriott
Research Paper


Frankincense gum resin secreted from Boswellia papyrifera was analysed by comprehensive 2D gas chromatography hyphenated with accurate mass time-of-flight mass spectrometry (GC×GC−accTOFMS). Direct multiple injection experiments with stepwise isothermal temperature programming were then performed to construct isovolatility curves for reference alkane series in GC×GC. This provides access to calculation of second dimensional retention indices (2I). More than 500 peaks were detected and 220 compounds mainly comprising monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, diterpenes and oxygenated forms of these compounds were identified according to their 1I, 2I and accurate mass data. The study demonstrates the capability of GC×GC−accTOFMS with retention data on two separate column phases, as an approach for improved component identification. A greater number of identified and/or tentatively identified terpenoids in this traditional Chinese medicine allow for a more comprehensive coverage of the volatile composition of frankincense.


Comprehensive 2D gas chromatography 2D index calculation Exact mass TOFMS Isovolatility Second dimension retention index 2D retention structure 



Gas chromatography


Comprehensive 2D gas chromatography


Mass spectrometry


Retention index


Solid-phase microextraction




Funding information

MJ is grateful for the support of this work by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51173057). PJM acknowledges the Australian Research Council for a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award: DP130100217. The authors acknowledge Agilent Technologies for provision of support for some of the facilities used in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

216_2018_1012_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (949 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 616 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ming Jiang
    • 1
  • Chadin Kulsing
    • 2
    • 3
  • Philip J. Marriott
    • 2
  1. 1.School of Pharmacy, Tongji Medical CollegeHuazhong University of Science & TechnologyWuhanChina
  2. 2.Australian Centre for Research on Separation Science, School of ChemistryMonash UniversityClaytonAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceChulalongkorn UniversityBangkokThailand

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