Development and UFLC-MS/MS characterization of a product-specific standard for phenolic quantification of maple-derived foods

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The phenolic contents of plant foods are commonly quantified by the Folin-Ciocalteu assay based on gallic acid equivalents (GAEs). However, this may lead to inaccuracies because gallic acid is not always representative of the structural heterogeneity of plant phenolics. Therefore, product-specific standards have been developed for the phenolic quantification of several foods. Currently, maple-derived foods (syrup, sugar, sap/water, and extracts) are quantified for phenolic contents based on GAEs. Because lignans are the predominant phenolics present in maple, herein, a maple phenolic lignan-enriched standard (MaPLES) was purified (by chromatography) and characterized (by UFLC-MS/MS with lignans previously isolated from maple syrup). Using MaPLES and secoisolariciresinol (a commercially available lignan), the phenolic contents of the maple-derived foods increased 3-fold compared to GAEs. Therefore, lignan-based standards are more appropriate for phenolic quantification of maple-derived foods versus GAEs. Also, MaPLES can be utilized for the authentication and detection of fake label claims on maple products.

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Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry