In vivo profiling of phytocannabinoids in Cannabis spp. varieties via SPME-LC-MS analysis

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Anal Chim Acta. 2024 Jun 1;1306:342621. doi: 10.1016/j.aca.2024.342621. Epub 2024 Apr 17.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: In vivo solid-phase microextraction (SPME) is a minimally invasive, non-exhaustive sample-preparation technique that facilitates the direct isolation of low molecular weight compounds from biological matrices in living systems. This technique is especially useful for the analysis of phytocannabinoids (PCs) in plant material, both for forensic purposes and for monitoring the PC content in growing Cannabis spp. plants. In contrast to traditional extraction techniques, in vivo SPME enables continuous tracking of the changes in the level of PCs during plant growth without the need for plant material collection. In this study, in vivo SPME utilizing biocompatible C18 probes and liquid-chromatography coupled to quadrupole time-of flight mass spectrometry (LC-Q-TOF-MS) is proposed as a novel strategy for the extraction and analysis of the acidic forms of five PCs in growing medicinal cannabis plants.

RESULTS: The SPME method was optimized by testing various parameters, including the extraction phase (coating), extraction and desorption times, and the extraction temperature. The proposed method was validated with satisfactory analytical performance regarding linearity (10-3000 ng/mL), limits of quantification, and precision (relative standard deviations below 5.5 %). The proposed method was then successfully applied for the isolation of five acidic forms of PCs, which are main components of growing medicinal cannabis plants. As a proof-of-concept, SPME probes were statically inserted into the inflorescences of two varieties of Cannabis spp. plants (i.e., CBD-dominant and Δ9-THC-dominant) cultivated under controlled conditions for 30 min extraction of tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (Δ9-THCA), cannabidiolic acid (CBDA), cannabigerolic acid (CBGA), cannabiviarinic acid (CBVA), and tetrahydrocannabivarinic acid (THCVA).

SIGNIFICANCE AND NOVELTY: The results confirmed that the developed SPME-LC-Q-TOF-MS method is a precise and efficient tool that enables direct and rapid isolation and analysis of PCs under in vivo conditions. The proposed methodology is highly appealing option for monitoring the metabolic pathways and compositions of multiple PCs in medicinal cannabis at different stages of plant growth.

PMID:38692790 | DOI:10.1016/j.aca.2024.342621