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Title: Improved UPLC-UV Method for the Quantification of Vitamin C in Lettuce Varieties (Lactuca sativa L.) and Crop Wild Relatives (Lactuca spp.)
Authors: Medina Lozano, Inés
Bertolín Pardos, Juan Ramón
Zufiaurre, Raquel
Díaz Bermúdez, Aurora
Issue Date: 2020
Citation: JoVE (Journal of Visualized Experiments), num. 160, (2020)
Abstract: Vitamins, especially vitamin C, are important micronutrients found in fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C is also a major contributor to their antioxidant capacity. Lettuce is one of the most popular vegetables among consumers worldwide. An accurate protocol to measure vitamin C content in lettuce and other related species is crucial. We describe here a method using the ultra-high-performance liquid chromatography-ultraviolet (UPLC-UV) technique, in which sample preparation, vitamin extraction and chromatography conditions were optimized. Samples were collected to represent the entire plant, frozen at -80 °C and lyophilized to prevent undesirable oxidation and make their manipulation easier. The extraction of vitamin C was carried out in acidic media, which also contributed to its stability. As vitamin C can be present in two different interconvertible forms, ascorbic acid (AA) and dehydroascorbic acid (DHAA), both compounds should be measured for accurate quantification. The DHAA was quantified indirectly after its reduction to AA because AA shows a higher absorptivity than DHAA in the UV range of the spectrum. From the same extract, two measurements were carried out, one before and one after that reduction reaction. In the first case, we were quantifying the AA content, and in the second one, we quantified the sum of AA and DHAA (TAA: total ascorbic acid) in the form of AA. Then, DHAA quantity was indirectly obtained by subtracting AA coming from the first measurement from TAA. They were determined by UPLC-UV, using a commercial AA standard to build a calibration curve and optimizing the chromatographic procedure, to obtain AA peaks that were completely resolved in a short time. This protocol could be easily extrapolated to any other plant material with slight or no changes. Its accuracy revealed statistically significant differences otherwise unperceived. Other strengths and limitations are discussed more in depth in the manuscript.
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