Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 11, Issue 11, pp 3257–3266 | Cite as

Characterization of Limonoids in Citrus Essential Oils by Means of Supercritical Fluid Chromatography Tandem Mass Spectrometry

  • Mariosimone Zoccali
  • Adriana Arigò
  • Marina Russo
  • Fabio Salafia
  • Paola Dugo
  • Luigi Mondello


The dual purpose of this research was to investigate the presence of limonoid aglycones in Citrus essential oils and to develop a rapid and reliable SFC-APCI-QqQ MS method for their characterization. In this study, 12 limonoid aglycones were tentatively identified in 11 different citrus essential oils. The developed method allowed a very fast separation in less then 7 min with a very low amount of organic solvent. Calibration curve of limonin was constructed by using a triple quad MS detector in order to quantify the limonin content in the analyzed samples. The content of limonin ranged from 0.5 (clementine essential oil) to 21.2 mg L−1 (bergamot essential oil) in the cold-pressed Citrus essential oils analyzed. Moreover, product ion scan (PIS) acquisition mode was also used for the structure elucidation of isobaric compounds. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first investigation on limonoid aglycones in Citrus essential oils.


Limonoids Supercritical fluid chromatography Essential oil MRM APCI-MS 



We gratefully thank Shimadzu and Merck KGaA corporations for their continuous support. Adriana Arigò thanks the “Prof. Antonio Imbesi Foundation” of the University of Messina for the financial support. Fabio Salafia tanks the “Programma Operativo Fondo Sociale Europeo (FSE) Regione Sicilia 2014-2020-Asse 3 Ob. 10.5” for thefinancial support.

Compliance of Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Mariosimone Zoccali declares that he has no conflict of interest. Adriana Arigò declares that she has no conflict of interest. Marina Russo declares that she has no conflict of interest. Fabio Salafia declares that he has no conflict of interest. Paola Dugo declares that she has no conflict of interest. Luigi Mondello declares that he has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.

Supplementary material

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ESM 1 (PPTX 69 kb)
12161_2018_1303_MOESM2_ESM.pptx (158 kb)
ESM 2 (PPTX 157 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di “Scienze Chimiche, Biologiche, Farmaceutiche ed Ambientali”University of MessinaMessinaItaly
  2. 2.Department of MedicineUniversity Campus Bio-Medico of RomeRomeItaly
  3. 3.Chromaleont s.r.l., c/o Dipartimento di Scienze Chimiche, Biologiche, Farmaceutiche ed AmbientaliUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

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